I’m rarely hungry for breakfast right when I wake up. Truth be told, the first hour of my day is probably the only time when I’m not thinking about food. After 9 a.m. or so, I start to get my first hunger pangs. Those are usually ignored as I’m catching up on all the latest cat videos and sports scuttlebutt. By 10am, I’m ready to give in because cat videos don’t fill stomachs. Breakfast does. Most days I go with oatmeal and almonds (to preserve my girlish figure). Some days, though, I have to kick it old school with a Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Whatever. The only problem? After all my dithering, by the time I get to the drive-thru window at 10:31 a.m., breakfast has disappeared from the menu like the vanishing edges of an almost-forgotten dream.
Not cool, guys. Not cool at all.
Almost every fast food chain enforces this breakfast fascism. Get there before 10:30 (or 11:00 in some luckier markets), and you can eat all the flapjacks you want. Show up after 10:30 and you’re out of luck. I want to know what happens in that magical minute. When the clock strikes 10:30, does the Breakfast Fairy come and make all the breakfast food disappear? Is it locked in a time vault that nobody but Ronald McDonald can open? I understand sticking to set hours if you need to shut down the restaurant and overhaul it for a whole new meal system, but these fast food places keep chugging along like nothing happened. In fact, some places even let you order their burgers for breakfast! Why doesn’t the option go both ways?
I contacted the Major Fast Food Chains to find out why and mostly hit a brick wall. After repeated attempts, I was met with deafening silence by McDonald’s who clearly views me as the Michael Moore of the food world. Burger King was kind enough to send an official email to decline participation in the story. Thanks, BK®. The only person I could actually get on the phone was Brian Luscomb, spokesperson for Jack in the Box, which is ironically the only fast food restaurant I contacted that actually serves breakfast all day. He speculated that the other chains may stick to rigid hours because of “the complexity of the grill.” But these chains pay incredibly low wages to mostly undereducated workers. How complex can the grill really be?
Since most fast food joints now claim to make your food when you order it instead the old system of stockpiling items in the hope that they’d be ordered, there’s no argument to be made that the equipment can’t be used for both breakfast and lunch at the same time. In fact, if they really want to impress us with how fresh they are, these restaurants would say we could not only order anything on the menu, but create any kind of Frankenmeal from a huge list of ingredients. Now that would be innovation. I’m not asking for the fully customizable fast food experience, though. All I want is a biscuit at noon.