Food and Drink

McDonald’s growing strongly in the U.S.

Mitchell Hartman Mar 8, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: Now to McDonalds, which said this morning global sales were up 7.5 percent last month. That’s for restaurants that have been open for more than a year. And this morning’s report tells us about more than just burgers and fries. Like any company with more than 30,000 locations, McDonald’s sales figures give us a snapshot of the global economy.

Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman reports now on the big mac indicator.

Mitchell Hartman: Look at where McDonald’s saw sales flagging, and you’ve got a map of where consumers are struggling. In Europe — McDonald’s biggest market by revenue — sales were up 4 percent, below what was predicted. Asia, Africa, and the Middle East came in much lower than expected. That’s partly due to the sluggish Japanese economy.

In the long run, though, analysts still expect the most growth for McDonald’s to come abroad — especially in countries with a fast-growing middle class, like China. Robin Lee Allen follows fast-food at Nation’s Restaurant News.

Robin Lee Allen: They have been using what in the quick-service or fast-food segment is called their “barbell strategy,” that’s having lower-priced items on one end and then higher-priced premium items on the other end.

So, fancy McCafe coffee beverages and Angus one-third-pounders, along with dollar-menu items. That appeals to recession-weary consumers, like those in the U.S., where sales rose more than 11 percent.

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace. 

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.