Next 'Big Thing' on McDonald's Menu?


The world's largest fast food chain is super-sizing its breakfast business, but some customers may be surprised at what McDonald's is trying to stir up in the morning: oatmeal.

The company is testing oatmeal in about 600 stores in the Northeast. If the test goes well, McDonald's may roll out oatmeal to more than 13,000 restaurants nationwide.

While it may be a newcomer at the Golden Arches, a number of other fast food chains already serve oatmeal, including Starbucks , Au Bon Pain and Jamba Juice .

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Starbucks, in particular, has seen great success after adding oatmeal to its menu (it is sold all day long and is especially popular in winter months).
At McDonald's , breakfast foods generate about a quarter of total sales. However, given the higher-than-average margins, Barclay's Capital analyst Jeffrey Bernstein estimates breakfast accounts for 35 percent of McDonald's profit.

The restaurant first introduced breakfast in 1972, with the launch of the Egg McMuffin sandwich. Since then, it has expanded the menu with other versions of the McMuffin, along with the McGriddle and breakfast burritos.

More recently, McDonald's has made an expanded push into the coffee market, adding both hot and cold variations of the drink, along with a massive advertising campaign, targeting Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.

On Thursday, May 13, Carl will report from McDonald's headquarters in Chicago; his reports will include a tasting of the new oatmeal inside the company's test kitchen during 'Power Lunch' between 12-2pm ET. Kelly Lin contributed to this story.