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McDonald’s reports third quarter earnings

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McDonald’s third quarter earnings showed a bit of a pickup. But this year, the fast food giant is also closing more stores than it is opening.

McDonald’s isn’t alone in the challenges it faces.

“In the hamburger category, which is within the traditional fast food category, visits have been down 2 percent for the year. So that segment has been struggling,” said Bonnie Riggs, the restaurant industry analyst for the NPD Group, a consulting firm.

Riggs said meanwhile fast casual restaurants like Chipotle and Panera are gaining market share.

“They started out in the early 2000s with a 1 percent share of the market. And it is now up to 5 percent, which may not seem like a big number, but 5 percent of 61 billion visits in a year is not small change,” she said.

But RJ Hottovy, an analyst at Morningstar, said McDonald’s has made some good efforts to lift sales. He pointed to the company’s efforts to give franchise owners more say over menu items, like lobster rolls, as well as the fast food October 6th launch of a limited all-day breakfast menu.

“A launch like this is probably the most positive news they’ve had in a few years,” he said.

Some franchise owners have reported mixed results with all-day breakfast. But Hottovy said it has likely boosted the McDonald’s brand.

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