Just after 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, the State Street McDonald’s was already bustling with customers chatting with friends, relaxing before work and getting a bite to eat.
Santa Barbara and Goleta McDonald’s restaurants were running an Egg McMuffin special to celebrate the 12th annual Herb Peterson Day. Visitors could tuck into a couple of the iconic breakfast sandwiches for $2 each, an even better value than the usual $4.56.
“This is the ‘Old Man Section,’” laughed “Craig” as he pointed towards his three friends sitting with him at the counter.
“We get our morning coffee early. We’re here every morning,” he said. “The coffee’s warm, the people are decent. It’s a comfortable place,” added Mike Walters.
Santino Mora said he picked up an order of hash browns and a drink on his way to work in Goleta.
“They’re crispy and crunchy and when you’re low on cash they’re great to take with you. Sometimes I’ll get one of the sandwiches in the afternoon or even an order of chicken nuggets,” said Mr. Mora, who decided the hash browns were his favorite thing on the menu.
The restaurant manager Araceli Olmos said the Herb Peterson Day offer was good until closing time at 11 p.m.
She opens the restaurant every morning at 5:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.
“Working with the team, they make it all worth it. They’re great,” she said.
Jacob Sotero, the manager of the Mesa McDonald’s agreed.
“We’re not just a team. We’re a family here and we have great communication,” said Mr. Sotero, a two-year McDonald’s veteran.
Paul Hodgson was enjoying a large coffee and a newspaper in the restaurant. He said he likes to get in early to avoid the rush and he comes almost every day.
By 7 a.m. the Milpas McDonald’s was packed with busy visitors on their way to work. Manager Lety Arias gave the News-Press a look in the kitchen as Cecilia Rodriguez was building an Egg McMuffin for a customer.
Ms. Arias said the location sells over 600 Egg McMuffins every day.
Mr. Peterson opened his first McDonald’s restaurant in Santa Barbara in 1968 and expanded his business to become the owner and operator of the six McDonald’s restaurants in Santa Barbara and Goleta.
He invented the Egg McMuffin to give customers his favorite breakfast, Eggs Benedict, on-the-go. He pitched the idea to McDonald’s found, Ray Kroc, in 1973 and within a few years, the sandwich became the platform for the McDonald’s breakfast offerings nationwide.
According to a history of the Egg McMuffin by Mashed.com, Mr. Peterson persuaded Mr. Kroc to visit Santa Barbara to “take a look at something,” but refused to tell him what it was.
When the Egg McMuffin was first released, most fast food restaurants did not open until 11 a.m. After its release, McDonald’s competitors quickly developed their own breakfast menus.
“The breakfast sandwich fulfilled a need the busy American worker had been craving for too long: a quick, cheap, convenient breakfast that could be eaten on-the-go,” observed Mashed.com
In 2015, McDonald’s began selling breakfast all day due to customer demand.