Business

All-day breakfast at McDonald’s prompts expansion at Clayton plant

McDonald’s now serves breakfast all day, which has driven up demand for McMuffins. Automatic Rolls in Clayton wants to expand to meet a growing need.
McDonald’s now serves breakfast all day, which has driven up demand for McMuffins. Automatic Rolls in Clayton wants to expand to meet a growing need. Getty Images

The impact of McDonald’s all-day breakfast is being felt in a giant bakery in Clayton.

The 100,000-square-foot Automatic Rolls plant looks to add 15,000 square feet of space and a new McMuffin production line to meet demand for toasty breakfast sandwiches any time of day.

“They must be doing a good business if they need more rolls,” Clayton planning board chairman Frank Price said at Monday’s meeting.

Automatic Rolls is a subsidiary for Northeast Foods, which has supplied McDonald’s bread products since the 1960s. The bulk of the Clayton plant’s operation is hamburger buns, but breakfast all day has posed a bit of a threat for burger buns.

“This part is not for the hamburgers,” said Steve Sanderson of Sanderson Engineering, the company handling Automatic Rolls’ expansion. “If you’re familiar at all with the franchise or eat there, you know that they now serve breakfast all day. Breakfast all day requires English muffins to be made. This is an additional line for English muffins and keeps the plant running at capacity.

“If you’re eating an English muffin at dinner time, you’re not eating a hamburger, so hamburger sales have actually dropped,” Sanderson said. “This is going to offset that with English muffin production for McDonald’s in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.”

The Automatic Rolls plant is located between Clayton and Smithfield near the pharmaceutical campuses of Novo Nordisk and Grifols on U.S. 70 Business. The site is out of compliance with the town for constructing a gravel parking lot for tractor trailers and for storing wooden pallets outside.

“Business has been so good they’ve needed to add some extra outdoor storage area for pallets that are stored here,” town planner Jay McLeod said. “All will be brought into compliance.”

Clayton’s planning board unanimously supported the expansion. The town council will make the final decision next month.

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