How Much Does That English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich Really Cost?

in food •  2 months ago

Grandpa Gotta Cost Analyze

It's Friday, which means I'm in search for something to write about for Food Fight Friday. But, I didn't cook anything new last Saturday, so instead of another cooking adventure, I thought I would take a look at the cost of making something at home, versus buying it at a fast food place. Then, maybe take it a step further and see what costs would be if I opened my own business.


I'm rather fond of McDonald's Egg McMuffins®, but at $3.99 USD a pop, they can get expensive really quick. Currently, the Egg McMuffin® is part of a two for $5 USD special, which means each effectively costs $2.50.

In this early post, I made my version, which I will call an EMBS (English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich, so I can stop typing the ®). Generally, we think of the food we make at home as being cheaper than what we might get the equivalent in a restaurant. I got to wondering recently just how much cheaper a homemade EMBS might be, so I decided to cost things out just for fun (and the sake of this post).

I'll try to keep the numbers to a minimum.

Just The Ingredients

Sandwich_first sandwich.JPG
My personal EMBS made at home, on the grill.

A typical EMBS has four ingredients—the English Muffin, an egg, a slice of American cheese and a slice of Canadian bacon.

It's not the case for everything, but since buying in bulk at Costco generally reduces price per item costs, I went there to source all my ingredients, except for the Canadian Bacon, which I could not locate. For that, I went to WinCo.

As you will see in the photos I took, Thomas' English Muffins cost $6.79 USD for a four pack resulting in 24 English Muffins. That equals 28.3¢ per English Muffin.


Eggs from a local farm were priced at $1.99 for two dozen, or just over 8.3¢ per egg. So, my cost is at 36.6¢

Kraft American Singles came in at $9.99 for 96 slices, or 10.4¢ per slice, so now I'm above 47¢.

Lastly, the Canadian Bacon at WinCo had 14 pieces for $2.17, or 15.5¢ each. So, that brings the total cost of ingredients for my EMBS to around 62.5¢


The difference between the on sale Egg McMuffin® and what I can make at home? $1.875. When it's not on sale? The amount is even greater, at $3.365.

That means, if I wanted to go into competition with McDonald's just with my own EMBS, I could sell it at $1.99, make $1.325 per sandwich, and retire early, because who wouldn't want half off on their EMBS?

But Wait, There's More

The takeaway for making the EMBS at home is, it's definitely cheaper. And you can make it however you like, substituting ingredients or adding something else to it if so desired.


But if I wanted to build a business around my EMBS, it would end up costing me more to create, because when you go to McDonald's, there's more to it then just the sandwich itself.

Each Egg McMuffin® comes individually wrapped. Since it's wrapping is specific to McDonald's products, it was hard to source exactly, but taking a comparable wrapping paper found at many smaller fast food restaurants—the checkered paper—at $51.99 for 5,000 count, the wrapping paper adds just over 1¢ per item.

Okay. That's not that much.

But, there's napkins, too. I usually end up with three, so at $24.49 for a case of 6,000, that's 0.4¢ per napkin, for a total of 1.2¢.

Okay, so now we're basically at a whopping 65¢. No big deal.

Well, we need to add at least one more thing, and that's the bag it comes in. Again, this is usually McDonald's branded, but a comparable sized paper bag would cost 1.5¢ if you bought them in a bundle of 500 for $7.79.

Okay, so now my cost is up to...drum roll... 66.5¢.

I think I'm still okay.


But That's Not All... Is It?

If I'm actually going into business, there's still more to consider. I need a place to sell my EMBSes, which means a monthly lease, along with things like utilities, water, sewer, insurances, including a form of liability, and garbage.

Then, I'm going to need equipment, primarily something that cook an egg in about a minute into that circle roughly the circumference of an English Muffin. Actually, I'm going to need more than one of those gizmos because if I don't, I'm going to take more time to produce multiple EMBSes per order. Not sure how many I will need, but my guess is at least two, and three might not hurt.

I'll need something to toast the English Muffins, to gently melt the cheese and to warm up the Canadian Bacon. I think I can do that in a toaster oven.

If I'm lucky, the place I rent should have a back counter space where I can prepare my EMBSes, some storage space to keep my ingredients, and another front counter to serve the customer. I'm probably going to avoid a seating area to see if I can cut down on the lease and utility expenses, along with cleaning costs.

How much will all that cost? I don't know. Expensed out over time, hopefully, I can keep the cost down, so I can still undersell McDonald's at $1.99. I'm afraid, though, that my margin will be severely cut into just with that.

You Haven't Mentioned Employees Yet

I know. That's because they can be easily the most expensive part of making food. But I doubt I would be able to make all of the EMBSes on my own without someone at least taking food orders. My guess is, though, I would need to have at least three of us working during peak breakfast times, so, like 6-9 AM. But then what would I do the rest of the time to keep from losing money when the shop's not open?

Back To Reality

I'm not going to open up an EMBS shop. If I were seriously going to do this, I would make them to sell in stores. That way, I cut my overhead way back and can operate out of my house for a lot longer. This was just a fun exercise for me to get an idea of where all the cost for the Egg McMuffin® might come from.

Waste Not, Want Not

Something was off in my analysis of just the ingredients, in that, I would probably need to make at least a dozen EMBSes in order to ensure I wasn't wasting food. I say that, because I believe the other 12 English Muffins, eggs, and Canadian Bacon could be consumed by my family in other things, along with the remaining 84 American cheese slices.

I do have a 16-month-old granddaughter after all.


About This Post

All images courtesy of Glen Anthony Albrethsen.

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This is a pretty cool post man, thanks for taking the time to do it. A great idea actually. A B&E McMuffin here is about $4AUD I think...But I'd have one of yours over the McDonalds version anyday! When's brekkie at your place bro?


Basically, breakfast is right now. Haven't had mine yet, so need to figure out what I'm going to do about it. :)

Glad you liked the post. I feel like when I trot out any kind of math, it loses people, but apparently there are a few business folks around that didn't mind the loose cost analysis. :)

I might be making this a periodic series. Regardless, I'm going to try to recreate the Big Mac if not today, soon.


Yeah, but you wrote it in an easy to follow manner which made it more appealing. I think it came out well and that you should do some more products. So many people lot for convenience when the item can be made so much cheaper with just a little effort.

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Great analysis! Every time I came up with a "yeah, but..." you had it included in your analysis. I shouldn't have doubted you. Yeah, the truth is that it can be expensive. Those fixed costs can really add up, and when you factor in waste from unsold items, it can be tough to stay competitive.

I think there was an episode of "How I Met Your Mother" where they open a bar in their apartment because they thought they could save money over drinking at the bar. They quickly found out that it's not as simple as it would seem.


re: yeah but

Yeah. I couldn't help myself. When I was first thinking about doing this, I was just going to do the ingredients, but then my business nature kicked in and I had to keep going. I decided it needed to be more than just about the sandwich itself, and so you got all the rest of it.

I don't know if people think about all of the possible expenses or not. Those of us who have ran businesses find out real quick that there's more to it than what you see on the surface.

And the unsold products is a big problem, and a major factor in the prices of things. If we could all be assured of how much we would sell, that would be great. I think it's actually possible, but it will take a wholesale change in the way businesses do, well, business for it to ever happen. :)


there's more to it than what you see on the surface.

Ain't that the truth?!

It would be difficult to predict exactly how much product you would go through. I think there's always going to be a certain amount of waste, unfortunately. It would be cool if you could come up with a plan to reduce waste though. I'll bet there are some companies that would pay big money for a plan like that.

Thats Awesome. Love how you broke it down :). Reminds me of my business days. Holy Crap, 1.99 for 2 dozen eggs?! Sign me up! I think our local farmers are getting $4 a dozen. Well done Grandpa :)


Hey, @weirdheadaches.

I don't know if it would pass as a formal presentation (need some pie charts and graphics, maybe some kind of snappy flash intro for :), but I'm glad you liked it. I had some fun doing it, so there you go.

I was kind of surprised to see that egg price at Costco, but Wilco farms is pretty close to us (I think they're the next county over), so should be cheaper. We normally get ours cheaper than that—I think we pay $1.25 or $1.50 for two dozen from some people we know (they're not really farmers, but they do have several hens), so regardless, the eggs are cheap. For bucks a dozen is crazy.

I'll put a good word in, see if they can overnight you some. :)


Lol, thanks :). Well costco here they are pretty cheap. Not sure if they're that cheap. But for all the locals by me they ar $4 a dozen. They taste a whole lot better. Im thinking of getting some chickens. Both my neighbors have em.

Nice breakdown.
I hope you enjoyed your muffins.
McD also sells dependability for when you are in a strange city.
I like the McD breakfast and the cheeseburger.

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That's true, @bluerobo. McDonald's, does sell dependability. Convenience, dependability, along with something tasty if you do like what they sell.

The several I've made so far have all been pretty good. I like cheddar over American cheese, so that's usually what I swap out. The hard part is getting the egg circular. Been using a round cookie cutter, but it's hard to get out when the egg is cooked. Lately, I've just been lazy and fry up the egg however it comes out. Tastes the same. :)

I like many of the breakfast items (not a big fan of the sausage or the hash browns, but I will eat them), but the burgers—well, there's always somewhere else to get those. If there is a burger that I eat regularly there, it's the Big Mac.

I think you're better off making those at home anyway. Mc D's sources their products at insanely cheap prices and add a tonne of nasties such as preservatives so that the shelf life on their bought in bulk products is insanely long.

Your home cooked version is going to be a damn sight healthier than that nasty big chain product.


Hey, @mazzle.

Yeah, I decided not to get into the health benefits of eating at home, but you're right. I'm sure their prices are even lower than what I was able to accomplish, too, which should further drive the point that they're making some decent money off Egg McMuffins. I don't know how many people buy them, though. My guess, is most are getting a coffee on their way to work. :)

This is great. I was just wondering about the exact cost of food made at home compared to buying. Specifically talking about pasta sauce and if I make my own am I really saving money. Dandays and I came to conclusion that even with buying 10 tomatoes, that making my own is much cheaper and makes much more than buying prepackaged at the grocery store. I really love that you mapped out this exercise for us. Maybe being an egg muffin competitor isn’t in the cards for you but who knows what the community will do with his information 🤷🏼‍♀️ Always a pleasure @glenalbrethsen.


Hey, @puravidaville.

Well, okay. A timely post. I guess I'm tapping into the greater STEEM communal mind or something. :)

Obviously, fast food is convenient. In reality, we're paying more for convenience than anything else. Especially if we want to stay out for longer than a couple hours at a time.

So, anyway, I'm thinking about making this a periodical series, and seeing what happens with it. Mix my business experience and budding cooking adventures and see what happens. :)


I’d be all ears… or is it eyes?… whatever, you know what I mean. I’d pay attention to that :)

haha! howdy sir Glen! This was great fun to read, I think you should be a business consultant and efficiency expert. Too bad you're not going to open a breakfast joint, I think you'd make it!


Maybe. I do like breakfast. The problem is, though, I'm not that interested in making it. :) I don't know. There's so many things that go wrong with a restaurant. I'd just rather avoid all of that at this point in my life, and I don't think I could get my wife to just give up her job to do one even if I was interested.

Getting them into a store would be the best way to go. Maybe some catering, but even that can be more work than it's worth.

re: efficiency expert

I could see myself in that kind of role. The problem is, I'm trying to make a go of it as a writer. That's the lifelong goal, with STEEM being the latest thing. I don't know. We'll see.


yes sir Glen..well then you need to write books on efficiency then you'd have both things at the same time!

I love the McDonald's sandwiches, and I love making my own.

I haven't been to McD's in a bit, tho. Saving money...maybe once Steem is back at $8 I'll loosen the strings a bit and indulge.

Till then, I'm on a budget.


I can't blame you for that, one at all, @protegeaa. Anyone who can figure out how to live in Southern California without bringing in kazillions has my respects. :)

Looking forward to that $8 STEEM, too. The idea that I'm not really working for $0.80 STEEM but something much higher is what drives me lately. Even with my minnow sized stake, I've got six figures in the making, at least, by my reckoning. :)

I've liked how the Egg McMuffins have turned out. Haven't really tried anything else, though I would like to see what I could do with a not so big Bic Mac. I'm sure that thing has shrunk about fifty percent over time. :)


The Big Macs are hard to replicate as the burger patties are so thin (although I love Big Macs).

Good point about thinking of Steem not as 80¢. I hope we're right. If not? I'll still appreciate the internet friendships I've developed here.

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Other option, make a EMBS stand outside your house. If any cops come by tell them you don't need a license because you're helping a child to learn business and cooking. And a lemonade stand is so last year.


Great idea, @pjau. :)

I need a better location for this EMBS stand idea, though. I'm kind of tucked out of the way, so maybe I could move it out of the cul-de-sac and set up across the road in a field or something.

I don't think the county patrols our place that much, and the licensing for street vendors is pretty lax, though I think we would still end up needing a handler's permit of some kind, just because it is prepared food.

I like your thinking, though. Hot steamy EMBSes from a foggy roadside stand. What could be better? :)


I'm kind of tucked out of the way

What could be better?

Street food is very popular in many parts of the world and can often be way better than any restaurant, rather take my chances there than any McDonalds 🤮 I hate it 😁


Field of Dreams is one of my all time Top 5 favorite movies! I haven't seen it in a long time, though. That's probably why it's still Top 5!

I'm not that tucked away, though. I guess, we might as well be, given that without signage or some kind of advertising, they wouldn't find us, anyway.

We're starting to see more and more food trucks around here, too. They were big in California 30 years ago when we lived down there, and they've taken off in Utah. Now, I guess they're making it happen here, too. It helps when you have some decent weather, since rain and cold, or ice and snow can drive off customers. Wimps!

i'm not that into McDonald's either. Can't really stand their burgers or their fries. But I do like various things on their breakfast menu. Enough to get something once a week.

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