McDonald’s comes roaring back as restrictions ease

As America emerges from the pandemic, it’s heading to McDonald’s

As America emerges from the pandemic, it’s heading to McDonald’s.

First quarter sales surpassed numbers even two years ago, long before COVID-19, led by a big jump in U.S. demand. McDonald’s revenue rose 9% to $5.1 billion for the January-March period. That beat Wall Street’s forecast of $5 billion, according to analysts polled by FactSet.

Last year at this time stores were closing globally and the world sheltered from spiking COVID-19 infections, so an improvement in sales during the same stretch this year was expected. However, the bounce back has been so strong, McDonald’s topped first-quarter sales of $4.95 billion in 2019.

U.S. same-store sales, or sales at locations open at least a year, rose 14% in the January-March period. Fewer diners visited, and many dining rooms remain closed. But those who did come ordered more. McDonald’s said new products, including a crispy chicken sandwich and spicy nuggets, helped draw customers.

McDonald’s has been helped by its drive-thru service and investments in delivery that it made before the pandemic. The Chicago-based company has drive-thru windows at nearly all U.S. stores and two-thirds of stores in its biggest European markets. And at least 30,000 stores worldwide now offer delivery.

McDonald’s said its net income rose 39% to $1.5 billion. Adjusted for one-time items, the company earned $1.92 per share, beating Wall Street’s forecast of $1.81.

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