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    McDonald's Looks to New Menu Items for Sales Lift

    OAK BROOK, Ill -- McDonald's announced yesterday that its Dollar menu will be seeing some big changes in an effort to boost struggling sales.

    Starting in February, the fast-food retailer will introduce its first new product, Fish McBites, made with the same Alaskan pollock as the Filet-O-Fish. In addition, new items will also include burgers, chicken entrees and breakfast offerings that are performing well in test markets, reported the Associated Press.

    McDonald's has faced increasing competition from Burger King, Taco Bell and Wendy's, which have also revamped their menus. Chain eateries like Chipotle and Panera also pose a threat with higher-quality food, but for a higher price. To deal with these challenges, McDonald's has said it plans to increase the frequency of its limited-time offerings.

    McDonald's also told the AP that it does not plan to add many items to its Dollar Menu unless they are profitable. For example, a recent successful item was the cheddar grilled onion burger introduced in December.

    "By no means do we think 2013 is going to be an easy year," said Don Thompson, McDonald's CEO. McDonald's executives added they will continue to remodel and extend store hours around the world.

    According to the news outlet, for the October-to-December 2012 period, McDonald's reported a 0.1-percent increase in global sales for restaurants open at least a year. U.S. restaurants recorded a 0.3 percent increase.

    Despite these setbacks, McDonald’s managed to earn a higher profit for its 2012 fiscal fourth quarter. In its latest quarter, the fast-food giant earned a net profit of $1.4 billion, compared with $1.38 billion during the same quarter last year. Revenue also rose to $6.95 billion from $6.82 billion. McDonald’s credits the success of short-term maneuvers including the promotion of its Dollar Menu, the strategic timing of its McRib offering and the fact it urged franchisees to stay open on Christmas this year for its profit.

    Thompson, who became CEO just last summer, said the company is eyeing total sales growth of 3 percent to 5 percent over the long term and plans to open 1,500 to 1,600 restaurants this year. It currently owns and operates 34,000 restaurants worldwide.

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