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In urban hot spots like New York or Los Angeles, residents have long been confronted with a host of late-night food options.In most of America, especially suburbia, get a hunger pang after midnight and your food options have likely been few and far between. But that’s increasingly not the case, reports Julie Jargon in today’s Wall Street Journal.
Why? From Jargon’s report:
“At McDonald’s Corp. — which reported another quarter of strong earnings Tuesday — the hours of midnight to 5 a.m. are the fastest growing time segment in its U.S. business. Nearly 40% of its U.S. outlets are now open around the clock, up from about 30% seven years ago.
Burger King Holdings Inc., which requires its U.S. restaurants to remain open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 11 p.m. the rest of the week, now has several hundred restaurants around the country open 24 hours, according to a spokeswoman. And Dunkin’ doughnuts has doubled its number of 24-hour restaurants in the past 10 years, with nearly a third of its more than 7,000 U.S. outlets now open all day and night.”
The Journal partially attributes the late-night sales growth to the growing number of Americans who are working late-shifts, but also acknowleges that the later hours cater to the after-bar crowd as well.
Looking to capitalise on that trend, some fast food eateries are also starting to offer alcohol.
Beyond adapting to the changing American work schedule, increasing 24-hour operations could be a smart strategy for fast food chains to beat the growing health food trend. Studies have shown that late-night eaters are more likely to indulge in junk food.