McDonald's results: Golden Arches lose their sheen

 
Emma Haslett
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The chain has been criticised for its unimaginative menu (Source: Getty)

The figures

Fast food giant McDonald's released disappointing full-year results today: not only have US sales dropped 4.6 per cent year-on-year in November, but sales in Europe are down two per cent and sales in Asia, the Middle East and Africa fell four per cent. That means global comparable sales dropped 2.2 per cent during the month.

Why it's interesting

It's been a difficult few years for Maccer D's, as the global population has become far more conscious of what it's eating and where that food is coming from. For a while, its salads, coupled with a campaign showing its food's organic origins, seemed to placate the European market. But now sales in the region - particularly Germany - are falling, fast.

But it's sales in its core market - the US - that are the real worry. The company is up against a wealth of new rivals, including the much-adored Chipotle, which has experienced explosive growth over the past year (earnings posted in October showed profits per share at the company grew 56 per cent on last year), and Taco Bell, which has become renowned for its experimental menu (waffle Taco, anyone?). McDonald's, by contrast, has been criticised for an unimaginative menu. Even an attempt to take on KFC with jumbo "Mighty Wings", which had done well in Hong Kong, failed to capture US fast food fans' imagination.

What McDonald's said

McDonald's president and chief executive Don Thompson:

We are working to bring the McDonald's Experience of the Future to life for our customers to better deliver against these evolving expectations. Each of our geographic segments is focused on regaining business momentum by prioritizing initiatives to improve comparable sales performance in the near-term, while developing innovations to deliver sustained profitable growth through McDonald's Experience of the Future.

We can hardly wait...

In short...

US consumers are used to exciting menus. To restore faith in its core market, McDonald's must come up with something new.

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