McDonald’s is not out of the woods yet.
The fast food giant reported a 10% drop in quarterly sales and earnings per share on Thursday. And while that was good enough to beat Wall Street’s meager expectations, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook called the results “disappointing.”
McDonald’s has been struggling, and the troubles led to the ouster of former CEO Don Thompson in January.
Since taking over, Easterbrook has stressed that McDonald’s must make big changes to convince people that they should eat at the Golden Arches.
Easterbrook unveiled the company’s turnaround plan in May.
That announcement had a lot of marketing gobbledygook phrases like “modern progressive burger company.” But it left many analysts wondering: Where’s the beef? That was a famous old slogan from rival Wendy’s (WEN).
Wall Street — and customers — wanted more details about how the company planned to spruce up the menu.
Easterbrook said in a statement Thursday that the company is “seeing early signs of momentum” and predicted a sales rebound in the third quarter. Thursday’s results showed a decline in same-store sales of 0.7% worldwide and 2% in the United States.
McDonald’s turnaround plan in 60 seconds
But for McDonald’s to get back on track, it all comes down to the food. And it seems that customers, especially Americans, are still not happy.
The company noted that a main reason for the tepid results was because “featured products and promotions did not achieve expected consumer response amid ongoing competitive activity.”
Translation: The food stinks and consumers are going elsewhere.
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Younger consumers are increasingly flocking to fast casual chains like Shake Shack (SHAK), Panera (PNRA) and Chipotle (CMG). McDonald’s was ironically once a big investor in Chipotle.
And McDonald’s faces stiff competition from Yum! Brands (YUM) (which owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell) and Burger King owner Restaurant Brands (QSR).
During a conference call with analysts, Easterbrook did give some details on how McDonald’s was hoping to win customers back with better food.
He said that many restaurants have implemented new cooking methods, such as toasting the hamburger buns longer and changing how meat is seared and heated up. The hope, Easterbrook said, is “hotter, juicier sandwiches.”
But Easterbrook was not promising any miracles overnight.
“There is no silver bullet. No one move will turn a business. There’s been a decline for nearly three years,” he said.
Easterbrook added that McDonald’s is focusing more on revitalizing the core menu. New product launches will happen but that it’s not going to be the main priority.
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