Most McDonald's locations close at 11 p.m. or midnight, however franchisees set their own hours. This then starts a chain reaction.
Wendy's has experimented with 24-hour drive-throughs. Labor worries caused the company to scale back the project during the outbreak, but CEO Todd Penegor mentioned it on his first-quarter earnings call.
"We plan to advertise Wendy's late-night operations this summer after diligent preparation to ensure that our consumers have a great experience," the CEO said.
"We already saw an increase in revenues in this daypart during the first quarter, driven by our transition to more normal late-night hours, local advertising, and our growing late-night-delivery operation."
When a food business is closed, it incurs expenses. Personnel, utility, and unsold food costs rise once the store opens.
It is tough to make early morning and late-night hours lucrative. Wendy's must strike a balance between expenses and income.
"Now that we've got ourselves properly staffed as we look at where that late-night business is, not only the things we can do via the drive-through for conventional drive-up consumers, but what we know we can continue doing with the momentum we have on the delivery business," he said.
The CEO indicated that he is skeptical about late-night's potential.
"The magnitude of the prize is difficult to quantify, but when I look at where we have some large growth drivers, late night and breakfast will remain one." "We'll work hard to win, just like we did at lunchtime and dinner," he said.