McDonald’s is phasing out its McCafé bakery lineup, the company confirmed in an email to Restaurant Dive on Tuesday. The chain’s apple fritter, cinnamon roll and blueberry muffin are on the chopping block. McDonald’s will continue to sell its “Chocolate Chip Cookies, Baked Apple Pie and frozen desserts at restaurants nationwide,” the company said.
The McCafé bakery items debuted in the fall of 2020 at a moment when QSRs were trying to draw customers back to stores as early pandemic restrictions faded. McDonald’s began facing more competition in the breakfast daypart in the weeks immediately preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, when Wendy’s launched its breakfast offering nationwide. Since then, consumer interest in breakfast has remained strong, but the Golden Arches has shifted the emphasis of its menu toward coffee and chicken. It also recently announced a change to its burger recipes.
Still, McDonald’s has continued to test breakfast offerings. In particular, the chain has partnered with Krispy Kreme to pilot sales of three flavors of Krispy Kreme doughnuts from 160 McDonald’s restaurants in Kentucky. McDonald’s didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the McCafé bakery items could be replaced with a broader offering of Krispy Kreme donuts. But, if the pilot is successful, Krispy Kreme could help fill the all-day breakfast item gap left in McDonald’s menu.
For its part, Krispy Kreme has been satisfied with the results of its test so far. On the doughnut brand’s Q1 2023 earnings call, Global President and COO Josh Charlesworth said, “we are happy with our team's ability to service these additional restaurant locations from three of our existing local production hubs, and we have not seen any adverse impact on existing sales at our doughnut shops.” Krispy Kreme CEO Michael Tattersfield said the McDonald’s pilot was generally complimentary to the doughnut brand’s existing business model and hours, but required increased production at its local facilities.
“What we're learning is we can deliver to the [QSR] space,” Tattersfield told analysts. “We really like the partnership with McDonald's as it stands today.”