The expansion of the company's McCafé lineup adds three new sweets — an apple fritter, a blueberry muffin and a cinnamon roll — to menus as it finds itself in a competitive battle with rivals over the first meal of the day.
McDonald's is giving away one of the new items free with a purchase of a hot or iced coffee on orders placed through its app. The promotion runs from November 3 through November 9 and is valid once per day at any time.
McDonald's regularly tries to entice customers to use its app with a variety of promotions and coupons, as well as a limited rewards program aimed at boosting coffee sales. Increasing the app's user base is "key," according to Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy, because the promotion could build customer loyalty: Customers might be coaxed to come back because of future offers.
The chain could use the boost, as it faces more competition at breakfast. Its most notable rival is Wendy's, which launched its own breakfast menu nationwide for the first the time earlier this year. It features a mix of salty and sweet items such as the Breakfast Baconator and Frosty-ccino.
Breakfast now accounts for 8% of Wendy's total sales, and the company also launched a robust rewards program on its app this summer.
Meanwhile, the future of McDonald's own All Day Breakfast remains hazy. The chain has not announced when or even if it will bring that menu back after cutting it in March because of the pandemic. The new sweets launching Wednesday might partially fill the void.
In the US, McDonald's sales have finally turned a corner following a bleak spring. Sales at US stores open at least a year jumped 4.6% in the third quarter compared to the same period last year, the company said in a regulatory filing earlier this month. The company said it grew sales during "all dayparts," an encouraging sign that it finally stemmed its declines during breakfast hours.
Sales improvements in the US were driven in part by "strong performance" at dinner and new items and stunts, including the Travis Scott Meal and spicy nuggets. This month, it hopes to replicate the success with a new J. Balvin meal -- and now, new baked goods.
McDonald's will release full third-quarter results on November 9.