Facing declining sales in the U.S. and abroad, McDonald’s may be looking to deploy a new secret weapon: brunch.
The world’s largest restaurant chain is in the process of securing a trademark for the term “McBrunch,” according to documents filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in July. A McDonald’s (MCD) spokesperson told the website Burger Business today that the company “routinely file[s]” relevant trademark applications, but declined to offer further details on the chain’s potential brunch plans.
The (double?) portmanteau seems to suggest McDonald’s is looking to expand its late-morning weekend menu in an effort to boost sales. Fortune reported on Tuesday that the chain’s global same-restaurant sales declined 3.7% in August, while those sales numbers in the U.S. fell 2.8% last month. A big part of the company’s problem, especially in the U.S., is increasing competition in the breakfast market, as fast-food rivals such as Taco Bell keep rolling out new morning menu items, and Starbucks boosts its food offerings with a new breakfast sandwich options.
Recently, McDonald’s has toyed with the idea of serving its breakfast items later in the day (the cutoff is usually around 10 a.m.) and the chain has even served both breakfast and lunch items as part of a limited “After Midnight” menu offered at a handful of 24-hour restaurants.
McDonald’s actually would not be the first big fast-food chain to take a stab at the brunch market. Rival sandwich-slinger Burger King (BKW) tested something similar in a handful of U.S. markets four years ago with a menu that included both breakfast and lunch options as well as a bastardized, non-alcoholic Mimosa that was actually just Sprite mixed with orange juice. Here’s hoping McDonald’s at least has the sense not to offer up nonalcoholic Bloody Marys.
If anything, McDonald’s stock seems to be responding positively to the prospect of McBrunch. The company’s shares are up 1.9% Wednesday afternoon, but are still down more than 4% on the year.