Crave a Big Mac at 3:30 a.m.? It seems sales are soaring between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. as many fast food outlets tend to operate 24 hours a day. This has led other restaurants to offer service at all hours of the day.
A study published last spring in the Los Angeles Times suggested that individuals who stay up late tend eat more and even eat worse. The research showed that late-night eaters gain an extra two pounds per month due to terrible diets and a higher body mass index.
Could this be the reason that so many fast food restaurants are serving Big Macs, Whoppers and doughnuts 24 hours a day? It’s possible, but despite the theories, companies that provide late-night food options are raking in the dough.
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the fastest growing business segment for McDonald’s, which reported strong quarterly earnings this week, is between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. and close to 40 percent of its chains offer 24-hour service.
Due in part to these numbers, Burger King Holdings Inc. is starting to have its restaurants open around the clock – much of its restaurants are already open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Dunkin’ Donuts, one of the largest coffee and doughnut chains in the U.S., is now starting to double the number of operating 24-hour businesses since 2002. More than 7,000 Dunkin’ Donuts are open 24 hours.
Why are many of these companies operating at these hours? Analysts say the increase in sales is due in part to the growing number of Americans who work late-night shifts. Also, the people who go to the bars late at night tend to become hungry.
This isn’t just an occurrence in the U.S., though. Many of these quick-service restaurants are offering 24-hour service in Canada. Tim Hortons, the largest coffee chain in Canada, has a majority of its chains operate 24 hours.
Some companies are not stopping at serving greasy burgers. The Business Insider reported in the summer that various Burger King, Sonic and Starbucks are starting to sell alcohol beverages, such as beer and wine.
This latest news comes as Taco Bell introduced its breakfast menu at close to 800 restaurants in about a dozen or western states. If successful, its breakfast menu, which includes a breakfast burrito, would go nationwide by 2014.