The cage-free hen house is getting crowded: Denny’s has become the latest restaurant operator to use egg sourcing it claims is a more humane treatment of animals.
The operator of about 1,700 restaurants globally vowed to serve 100% cage-free eggs in all of its U.S. restaurants by 2026. That window of time may seem long – but it is in line with the time frame outlined by other restaurants that have recently made similar commitments. Dunkin’ Donuts (DNKN) and McDonald’s (MCD) have both said it would take a decade to make the supply chain shift.
Yum Brands’ (YUM) Taco Bell outlined a much shorter deadline: promising the change would be implemented by the end of this year. But Taco Bell only recently began to serve breakfast, so eggs play a less important role at that concept’s menu.
At Denny’s, well known for serving all-day breakfast at its restaurants, eggs are a key ingredient. The company said it serves more than 400 million eggs annually. Breakfast and lunch account for almost 60% of the chain’s roughly $2.6 billion in annual sales.
The move by the industry to go cage-free comes as industry observers and restaurant executives say consumers care more about the way their food is sourced – and they are making purchasing decisions that tilt in the favor of brands that are seen as more wholesome.
“We believe our guests care about how their food is sourced and so do we,” said John Miller, Denny’s (DENN) president and chief executive officer. “Our commitment to this transition underscored our confidence in the ethical evolution of supplier capabilities.”
The company debuted a humorous ad to unveil the change. In a newspaper ad, it acknowledged the shift has come a bit late – though Denny’s has made other moves recently to use wild-caught fish and healthier ingredients across the company’s menu.