McDonald’s Japan giving away free breakfasts

By Jessica Ocheltree

McDonald’s is already known for cheap prices, but it’s about to get a whole lot cheaper: as in free. At least it will if you stop by for breakfast on your way to work Monday.

McDonald’s Japan announced Friday that it is going to start a promotion called Free Monday, in which one of their breakfast items will be offered free to customers. The company hopes to increase the number of breakfast customers.

Until Feb 4, anyone coming to a McDonald’s between the hours of 6-9 a.m. on Mondays will get a free item. Starting on Monday with a free Sausage McMuffin, the giveaway will be followed by a free small coffee on Jan 28 and a free hashbrown on Feb 4.

Eikoh Harada, the president and CEO, said at a press conference held at a Shinjuku branch, “Almost everyone has had the experience of dining out, but those who eat breakfast at a restaurant is just 1 in 3. We hope to draw in those who would normally eat at home or at a convenience store.”

He also stated that their goal is to raise breakfast items from 15% of sales to 20%. Then he handed out the ceremonial first freebie.

Last year, sales for the company dropped against the previous year for the first time in almost a decade. To raise revenues, the company is experimenting with discontinuing the 100 yen menu in parts of the country and with promotions like this one and the much maligned 60-second campaign.

Source: Asahi Shimbun Image: McDonald’s

Read more on RocketNews24. -- McDonald’s Japan to Close 110 Stores, Expand Home Delivery Service in 2013 -- McDonald’s Japan Giving Away Free Hamburgers (Again) -- Order in English and Your Coffee is Free at Rosetta Stone’s Language Cafe

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Cool deal!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Wow! . . Would be genrous IF the stuff they sold Mcd's were REALLY food !?!

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Morning menus suck.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Just what the high school kids need with their rapidity rising weight issues. Breakfast on the run ....

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I hope they never get rid of the 100 yen menu. Now THAT keeps me coming back. These free giveaways are a good idea, too!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The muffin on the morning muffin sandwich is not bad. They should use it as their burger bun. And I say this as someone who bakes his own bread.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

If only they started this last Monday, which was a 'Happy Monday' thanks to coming-of-age day....

Think I'll just take my free muffin and grumble.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Rest assurred there is hardly anything resembling sausage in that meal. Meat blasted from the bones, cartilage, eyes, 'bits' and other stuff mixed in with flavoring, salt and sugar. Have a nice day!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I'm a little ashamed to admit I ate McDonalds in Ochanomizu on Wednesday. I probably eat at Macs twice a year. But that place was HEAVING - there was a line going out the door. Whatever the marketing folk at McDonalds Japan are doing, they are killing the pig.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

McD's has some seriously weird campaigns going on. Anyone who would go in for a free breakfast at that time on Monday is already a breakfast customer or knows about McD's breakfasts, and if they don't go regularly now they'll stop when the campaign ends. It won't increase breakfast customers save those who take advantage.

Anyway, power to them. Hope this doesn't overload the staff like the sixty second thing. If I'm up and around at that time on Monday I may give it a go -- I once in a while grab a sausage muffin on my way into work.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It won't increase breakfast customers save those who take advantage

I see your expert crystal ball of pessimism is in good working order again today.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I'm a little ashamed to admit I ate McDonalds in Ochanomizu on Wednesday

Ochanomizu is a nice place.....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

When Japanese ask me what I find surprising about Japan, I often mention the lack of breakfast places.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Just a promotion. May encourage somebody who normally doesn't go to McDonald's to stop in for a free sandwich and then perhaps buy something more. But, those who are not into fast food will probably stay a way as always.

I think that Japan has plenty of places where you can get something to east for breakfast, just not many that offer western style breakfasts (bacon and eggs, pancakes, waffles, etc.). There are some family chains that do, but it's Japan so you can expect everything to be like it is back home. It all depends on how you define "breakfast", doesn't ? Plenty of place to get a bagel, some fruit and maybe some yogurt in most big cities over here.

Honestly, there are times when I am travelling, that I wish I could get a more Japanese style breakfast (miso soup, maybe some fish, rice, natto, etc.) somewhere but not many places offer them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"In Hawaii the $1 menu draws in so many homeless that I can't even go to McDonald's any more."

Well, quite. The sight of my fellow human beings quite destroys my appetite too. Especially those horrid poor folk....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Brilliant marketing and I think that Japanese culturally will appreciate this and come back again - or maybe just on Mondays but if they also splurge on a couple more items then progress!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

At least it gains the advertising they want. They are giving away more than breakfast , I received a free burger coupon two days ago. One thing you can say that is good about McD's is that their menu basically mirrors that of back home, Denny's on the other hand is horrible ! No Grandslam's their menu looks nothing like back in the USA or Canada that's foresure.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@ Crazed

You're not in the US. Best place for an American menu is probably America....

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Lucabrasi Burger King got it right,KFC, McDonalds got it right , Wendy's got it when they were here...quite a few have managed to mirror the menu,all of those chains are pretty successful in their campaign for successful business... The comment was supposed to reflect someone ( Denny's ) dropped the ball and its only a observation made as a comparison between.

0 ( +2 / -2 )


It's come to this at last.

Nobody will buy it so they have to give the stuff away!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )


Sorry. Didn't mean to come across as cranky.... : )

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just happened to eat at McDonald's near Circus Circus in Las Vegas. I got the 'meal' deal. I got two cheeseburgers, one fry and my choice of drink (refill as much as I want). I paid $6.04 to include tax. Is that a good deal?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Only one fry? Bad, bad deal....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Don't know about this, but I love the fact that McDonald's sometimes give away coffee for free. A couple weeks ago they were giving away free coffee. Felt funny just walking in, ordering a coffee, not paying anything, then walking out with a coffee in hand.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

you can't beat free.

They could try to paying. Here, it's just the free recycling of their gomi...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

To raise revenues, the company is experimenting with discontinuing the 100 yen menu in parts of the country and with promotions like this one and the much maligned 60-second campaign.

They should fire whoever's working in their strategy department. When I walk into a McDonalds (which I do about once every three months), I see that that place is full of high school students. Inevitably they have a couple of 100 yen items on a tray, and the most expensive items are their drinks, which they're normally splitting with a friend. Drive-through customers rarely seem to order the 100yen items.

The think about the high school customers is that they might be losing in the short-term, but they're creating nostalgia value and creating life-long customers. At the moment McDonalds has only been in Japan a relatively short time, perhaps 2 generations (1990s to present), but one can already see the impact, with fathers taking their sons to McDonalds as a Sunday "treat".

If they cut the 100yen items they'll lose the high schoolers, and in 10 years their profits will dip even further. They might get some high schoolers coming in with this free breakfast campaign, but most of them take trains to their schools, and most McDonalds are not near train stations, so the students would have to detour significantly off track to get a free meal - and these students all have bentos and go to the McDonalds in the evenings to socialise, NOT for the food. Morning in winter is not a social time.

Likewise the 60 second campaign didn't go down well with the Japanese culture of quality and service.

Whoever is running the McDonalds strategy division needs a swift smack upside the head with a rolled up newspaper, they clearly have no clue about the Japanese market, generational marketing or the factors that will lead to the long-term success of McDonalds in Japan.

... of course I'll be shedding no tears if all the McDonalds close, their food is awful and unhealthy.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@ freakashow

Consider yourself lucky. The line outside a Mickey D's in a major Osaka train station was nuts. There was no way I was gonna get a free cup without waiting 10 minutes. Same for this offer starting tomorrow. In my book, this is only free advertising because there's no way I'm gonna be able to get my hands on a free Sausage McMuffin..!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Junk food, ruinous to health and the planet. Free is still too expensive.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

it's like a pusher giving your a free sample in hopes of an addictive response. Meanwhile nothing really beats a good homemade breakfast. I hope it fails

0 ( +3 / -3 )

When Japanese ask me what I find surprising about Japan, I often mention the lack of breakfast places.

huh? Never had a "morningu setto" ? Can't beat a tiny coffee in a china cup, an egg, a wedge of toast and er, some salad. Would take that over a free McYuck any time.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Don't discontinue the 100 yen meals! that Crispy Chicken burger and the Crispy Chicken muffin for breakfast tastes really good, we don't have them back in Australia.. Their pancakes and sausage and egg muffins for breakfast are nice too.

Make the pancakes free and you will see a lot more female and male customers...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So tomorrow it's a sausage McMuffin? When do they offer the burger in the picture above?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

junk food - yuck :-P

0 ( +2 / -2 )

McDonald’s is already known for cheap prices, but it’s about to get a whole lot cheaper: as in free.

McD is known for cheap food and for what some pertain to be low prices, not cheap prices. Nothing comes free, but the junk food junkies might still jump on this. You can't take of yourselves? No problem, McD will take care of you, from cradle to grave.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Erratum: You can't take care of yourselves? My apologies. But not being able to edit messages is something I don't get.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

McD will take care of you, from cradle to grave

Which, if you eat this muck, is a short time.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Free, as in free heart attack?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Im guessing you get the free item if you purchase something

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Frungy, nice post. I have seen their stock go down recently here, more of their TV commercials and BK is back. My 2 cents... this is in the headline news section of a gaijin site so someone is sending a stream of funds in another dept. I guess it beats war and crime stories.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Horrible processed yellow cheese, mystery meat thingy encassed in something which can hardly be called a muffin. Yes, they must have to give it away. Who would truly pay for such contempt of food?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Enjoy your free MSG, I'll stick with with MOS.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


Are you saying that MOS does without MSG? I doubt that very much.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's amazing how much the average Japanese person has gained weight since I came here, especially the kids. There didn't used to be as many "overweight" or even "obese" people walking the streets as there are now. I would imagine those of you who have been here for roughly 2 decades or so would notice these changes too right?

I ate McDonalds the other day for the first time in like 7-8 years, and I couldn't have felt worse afterwards. It does taste "good" going down - the greasy hamburger, salty fries, and sweet coke - but after it goes down it's just nasty. If I was a HS kid and wanted to go on a cheap date, I'd probably go there knowing it would only cost me 600¥, and you can sit down for as long as you want without getting chased out. However, with all the delicious and healthy food you can eat here, it's a wonder people still choose to eat McDonalds.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Here's my story. I popped into Maccas about two hours ago before heading into the daunting supermarket. Maccas still had a notice up in the window about this morning's lucky muffin special. Next Monday is coffee etc and not a lucky muffin but they must be keeping it up there for the day for advertising or something. Anyway, I got a cheeseburger as I didn't have much change and didn't want to spring the bad boy ichi man on them (supermarket is much more equipped for that.) It was after 2pm so there was none of that gotta get it to you in under 60 seconds. Having said that, I think they forgot to run the cheeseburger through the order process as the lovely lady who took my order uttered something to that effect a little later (my fast-food Japanese is pretty awesome.) The cheeseburger came and it was the best 120 yen I've spent this year. After sitting around for a little bit I left but didn't get a standing ovation or anything like that, which was a bit disappointing but I'll be back. Thanks for reading.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Weasel: I beat for free everyday.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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