No string of numbers strikes fear into the hearts of McDonald’s breakfast enthusiasts quite like “11:01.” Gone are the glorious, greasy hashbrowns, the delightfully stale muffins and the Holy Grail of hungry, hungover people everywhere — the Egg McMuffin — unceremoniously tossed out to make way for the rest of the day’s combo fare.
But as of Wednesday, Torontonians won’t have their McMuffin lust stymied by temporal limitations. McDonalds is taking on Tim Horton’s and Starbucks by launching its first Canadian standalone McCafé in the concourse of Union Station.
It’s a smart business move. Coffee is the top-selling product at the chain’s Canadian stores and consumers are growing weary of the chain’s burger-and-fry options as the fast-food sector becomes more and more saturated. In addition to regular drip java, the flagship location will sell espresso, fruit smoothies, a brie and apple sandwich on an “authentic” French croissant and fresh bananas for $1 each. Oh, yes, and Egg McMuffins.
Still, as something of a frat food connoisseur, I can’t help but think this is a catastrophically bad idea. The joy of tucking into a bacon and egg bagel (or #6 combo to those in the know) isn’t the bagel itself — it’s the smug delight of knowing you made it to the drive-thru in time to order it. And not to get too high-level here, but McDonald’s strict five to 11 a.m. breakfast window taps into our very ingrained, lizard brain tendency to assign higher value to resources that are scarce and a lower value to those in abundance.
Basically — and I can’t believe I’m saying this — when we have the opportunity to inhale McMuffins at any hour of the day, the already tenuous thrill of inhaling McMuffins will evaporate. So enjoy your 3 p.m. apple croissant Canada, but never forget that adrenaline-powered about-to-eat-junk-food joy you once felt at your 10:59 roadside pitstop. In trying to have it all, we may have lost everything.