Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

McDonald's crispy chicken sandwiches and fries are displayed in New York on March 30, 2021.

HILARY RUSS/Reuters

McDonald’s Corp on Thursday beat Wall Street estimates for comparable sales, and said it returned to pre-pandemic levels of growth, driven by eased COVID-19 restrictions in some markets and U.S. customers, flush with stimulus cash, craving new chicken sandwiches and nuggets.

First-quarter global comparable sales growth of 7.5 per cent surpassed pre-pandemic 2019 levels, Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinski said. That trounced the 4.71 per cent growth expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv IBES.

Shares rose 0.6 per cent on the New York Stock Exchange after the opening bell.

Story continues below advertisement

The Chicago-based burger chain also raised its 2021 systemwide sales outlook to the mid-teens from the low double-digits.

An intense vaccination drive and the distribution of coronavirus relief checks encouraged more people in the United States to eat out.

“The stimulus checks are now wearing off generally, but we’re seeing continued momentum in our business,” Kempczinski said during a call with analysts.

Fast-food chains have managed to weather pandemic restrictions much better than others in the industry, given their drive-throughs, delivery networks and competitive pricing.

McDonald’s also rolled out its crispy chicken sandwiches earlier this year in the United States, looking to tap into a frenzy kicked off by privately owned Chick-fil-A and Restaurant Brands International Inc’s Popeyes in 2019. It also brought back spicy chicken nuggets.

Those factors, combined with celebrity marketing campaigns, helped power a 13.6 per cent jump in sales at restaurants open for more than a year, trouncing expectations of 9.25 per cent, according to the analysts.

Sales were driven in part by higher tabs, with traffic lower across all segments.

Story continues below advertisement

McDonald’s also showed strong growth in its international markets, with Britain, Australia and Canada recording a rise in sales.

However, COVID-19 resurgences in some markets led to volatility and new government restrictions, particularly in France and Germany.

The company said it had 40 million active users of its digital app in its top six markets - about half of them in the United States.

Net income rose to $1.54 billion, or $2.05 per share, for the first quarter, from $1.11 billion, or $1.47 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue increased 9 per cent to $5.12 billion, above estimates of $5.03 billion.

Excluding onetime items, the company earned $1.92 per share, well above the expectation of $1.81.

Story continues below advertisement

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies