Recent Posts

MCD: Building a Happy Meal for Investors

There are multiple potential positives regarding McDonald’s U.S. business that the Street may not be currently appreciating. For example, McDonald’s reported its Q2 earnings on July 26th, but did not quantify (or otherwise meaningfully comment on) July same-store sales trends at that time. Subsequent to that date, though, Wendy’s (WEN; Buy, $21.40) noted on its August 10th conference call that “we expect a significant step-up in one-year same-restaurant sales in the back half of the year, and our results through July are accelerating as planned.” In addition, on August 11th, the largest Burger King franchisee in the U.S., Carrols (TAST; Not Rated) – which operates over 1,000 Burger King restaurants – remarked that “During the second quarter, comparable restaurant sales at our Burger King restaurants increased 2.8% against a robust 12.6% comparison from the prior year period. The monthly sales trend demonstrated building momentum, with negative comparable restaurant sales in April as we lapped the end of the stimulus payments benefit, followed by mid-single digit growth in both May and June which has extended into July.” We believe that these trends are indicative of a good July for the U.S. quick-service burger sector in general, including segment leader McDonald’s (which we believe outperformed the sector to some degree).

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7:00 AM

MCD (Post-Call): Comforting Fundamentals in a Tough Environment

Earlier today, McDonald’s reported adjusted Q2 EPS of $2.55, in between our $2.60 estimate and sell-side consensus (according to Consensus Metrix) of $2.47. Excluding one-time items, the Q2 adjusted tax rate was 18.7%, more favorable than our 21.0% projection and consensus of 20.8%. We calculate that Q2 EPS was helped by the more favorable-than-expected tax rate by about +6 cents, relative to consensus.

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9:56 AM

MCD: McDonald’s Franchisee Survey Part 2 Discusses Relations with Corporate

Today we publish part 2 of 2 of the July 2022 edition of our proprietary McDonald’s Franchisee Survey. This report focuses on franchisees’ thoughts as regards their relationship with corporate. This is in the context of The Wall Street Journal reporting on June 23rd that “McDonald’s Corp. is planning to make some of the biggest changes in decades to the franchising system that underpins its U.S. operations, as it seeks to reinvigorate its base of restaurant owners. Executives this week notified the burger chain’s franchisees that they will have to go through a more stringent review every 20 years to keep their restaurants…. McDonald’s will consider new factors, like performance history, as it asks owners to apply to keep their locations. The company will consider new factors, such as customer complaints, to determine which McDonald’s franchisees can add new locations. In a shift that could affect some of the chain’s longest-tenured restaurant operators, McDonald’s is also requiring that some next-generation heirs put up more cash to keep operating their locations — and to designate a single family member as the operator…. McDonald’s anticipates it will begin to implement the franchising changes next January.” For more info:

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7:00 AM

MCD: McDonald’s Franchisee Survey Part 2 Discusses Market Share

Today we publish part 2 of 2 of the April 2022 edition of our proprietary McDonald’s Franchisee Survey. This report focuses on franchisees’ thoughts as regards market-share trends and opportunities over the next 3-5 years. This report also provides some general thoughts from the franchisees about any topic currently at the forefront of their minds.

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7:00 AM

MCD (Post-Call): Could its Q4 Results Bode Well for Wendy’s Sales Trends?

Earlier today, McDonald’s reported adjusted Q4 EPS of $2.23, falling short of our $2.35 estimate and sell-side consensus (according to Consensus Metrix) of $2.33 We attribute the EPS shortfall largely to: (1) tax rate (we calculate that the adjusted tax rate was about 23.8%, higher than our 21.0% projection and consensus of 21.0%), and (2) SG&A/Revenues of 14.0%, versus our 13.2% forecast and consensus of 13.1%. Management says that part of this higher SG&A was driven by performance-driven compensation expense, as results for 2021 exceeded plans.

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9:45 AM

MCD: McDonald’s Franchisee Survey Focuses on Loyalty Program

Today we publish part 2 of 2 of the January 2022 edition of our proprietary McDonald’s Franchisee Survey. This report focuses on franchisees’ thoughts as regards the MyMcDonald’s Rewards loyalty program (rolled out nationwide in the U.S. in early July 2021), and also provides some general thoughts from the franchisees about any topic that is at the forefront of their minds.

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7:00 AM

MCD (Post-Call): Why Do Hamburgers Go to the Gym? To Get Better Buns

Earlier today, McDonald’s reported Q3 adjusted EPS of $2.76, well above our $2.43 forecast and sell-side consensus (according to Consensus Metrix) of $2.46. Factors driving the outperformance include: (1) better-than-expected same-store sales across the board, (2) about +9 cents worth’ of tax help relative to our 22.0% tax-rate projection, and (3) more favorable than anticipated margins on the franchised side of the business.

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9:43 AM

MCD (Post-Call): Best Two-Year U.S. Same-Store Sales Since Q1 2005

Earlier today, McDonald’s reported adjusted Q2 EPS of $2.37, ahead of our $2.13 estimate and sell-side consensus (according to Consensus Metrix) of $2.12. Currencies helped Q2 EPS by +13 cents. Management looks for Q3 EPS to be helped by about +3 to +5 cents due to favorable currencies. The full-year outlook is +20 to +22 cents, suggesting perhaps a -2 cent hit to Q4 EPS.

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9:45 AM

MCD: McDonald’s Franchisee Survey Leads to Updated Estimates

McDonald’s plans to release its Q2 earnings before the market open on Wednesday, July 28th. For Q2E, we retain our existing McDonald’s U.S. same-store sales forecast of +24.3%. According to Consensus Metrix data, sell-side consensus has drifted upward in recent days to +24.0% — nearly coming to equal the Q2E projection we went to this past April 22nd.

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5:21 PM

MCD (Post-Call): Robust Results Across the McBoard

Earlier today, McDonald’s reported Q1 adjusted EPS of $1.92, above our $1.86 forecast and sell-side consensus (according to Consensus Metrix) of $1.82. The EPS outperformance was driven by better-than-expected same-store sales in each of McDonald’s three major business segments.

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1:10 PM

MCD: McDonald’s Franchisee Survey Leads to Updated Forecasts

McDonald’s plans to release its Q1 earnings before the market open on Thursday, April 29th, to be followed that day by the related earnings release conference call. For Q1E, we retain our existing McDonald’s U.S. same-store sales forecast of +12.2%, which lies +190 basis points above current sell-side consensus (according to Consensus Metrix) of +10.3%. Our Q1E EPS estimate remains at $1.86, five cents above consensus of $1.81.

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11:42 AM

MCD: The Bull and Bear Cases on McDonald’s

In this report we examine the bull and bear cases regarding McDonald’s (MCD; Buy, $220.46). While we maintain our Buy rating on MCD — it continues to be our top large-cap restaurant-stock pick — it is good for investors interested in MCD to be aware of the bull and bear cases surrounding the stock, no matter what our rating on the shares is.

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4:49 PM

MCD (Post-Call): Updating Our 2021E & 2022E EPS Projections

Earlier today, McDonald’s reported $1.70 in adjusted Q4 EPS, lower than our $1.72 forecast and sell-side consensus (according to Consensus Metrix) of $1.77. Fourth-quarter Company-Operated Restaurant Expenses/Sales by CompanyOperated Restaurants came in at 85.2%, worse than our 82.8% estimate.

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4:14 PM

MCD: McDonald’s Franchisee Survey Examines Franchisee & Corporate Relations

Today we publish part 2 of 2 of the January 2021 edition of our proprietary McDonald’s Franchisee Survey. Much of this report focuses on relations between U.S. franchisees and corporate. As we noted in the part 1 report published late last week, we asked our franchisee respondents to quantify the current relationship between franchisees and McDonald’s Corporation, using a scale of one to five, with 1=Poor and 5=Excellent. The average response we received was 1.41 — the lowest average response we have received for this question since Q4 2018’s 1.39.

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3:15 PM

Updating our Q4E Kalinowski Quick-Service Burger Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Quick-Service Burger Index for Q4E to +4.5%. This figure is based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards same-store sales performance for this segment during October, November, and December. While we believe that sector same-store sales were fairly similar in each of these three months, it appears that November was the best of the three, and December the worst of the three, although all three ended up in the positive midsingle digits.

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12:00 AM

MCD Updating Our Forecasts

With this report, we lower our Q4E 2020 EPS estimate for McDonald’s by -24 cents, to $1.72. Our change reflects two factors: (1) reductions in our Q4E samestore sales forecasts for both the International Operated Markets and International Developmental Licensed Markets business segments, and (2) what we believe is an improved understanding of G&A expenses slated for Q4 (leading us to bump up our Q4E G&A projection to about $755 million.

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12:00 AM

Restaurants Full-Service Same-Store Sales Decelerating So Far in November

Based on our data-driven checks, we believe that same-store sales for U.S. chain restaurants in the casual dining, family dining, and fine dining segments are all showing sequential deceleration for the first half of November relative to fullOctober. This new trend follows 5-6 consecutive months of either sequentially improving full-service same-store sales (or at least not meaningfully deteriorating sequential same-store sales).

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12:00 AM

MCD Let’s See Just How “Speedee” These Arches Can Accelerate

Earlier today, McDonald’s reported adjusted Q3 EPS of $2.22, ahead of our $1.92 forecast and sell-side consensus (according to Consensus Metrix) of $1.92. Currencies helped Q3 EPS by +3 cents. Factors that drive the EPS beat include: (1) better-than-expected company-level restaurant operating margins (17.9% actual vs. 15.8% projected), a favorable tax rate (20.5% actual vs. our 24.0% estimate), and (3) better-than-expected SG&A/Revenues (9.8% actual vs. our 10.4% forecast).

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12:00 AM

MCD McDonald’s Franchisee Survey Leads to Updated Q4E Forecasts

McDonald’s plans to release its full-Q3 earnings before the market open on Monday, November 9th, to be followed that day by the related earnings release conference call and a Virtual Investor Update. McDonald’s has already released its Q3 samestore sales results, including a U.S. advance of +4.6%.

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12:00 AM

MCD “Colores” Us Impressed Updating Our Q3E Forecasts (Again)

For the second time in a month, we raise our Q3E same-store sales forecast for McDonald’s U.S. — this time by +60 basis points, to +3.6%. This is based on robust same-store sales from the second half of September, thanks largely to: (1) a limitedtime promotional tie-in with rapper Travis Scott (which launched September 8th), and (2) a limited-time offer featuring Spicy Chicken McNuggets (which launched September 16th). Both of these promotions did so well that at times restaurants were sold out of the items involved well before the official promotional end dates.

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12:00 AM

Updating our Q3E Kalinowski Quick-Service Burger Same-Store Sales Index

With this report, we update our data-driven Kalinowski Quick-Service Burger Index for Q3E to +3.6%. This figure is based on our latest proprietary checks/data as regards same-store sales performance for this segment during July 2020 and August 2020, as well as our best guess for what September 2020 is bringing us. The approximate monthly figures we use are +2% to +3% for July 2020, +3% to +4% for August 2020, and approximately +6% for September 2020.

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12:00 AM

MCD (Post-Call) Some Challenges, and Some Bright Spots

Earlier today, McDonald’s (MCD; Buy, $199.26) reported Q2 EPS of $0.65, short of our $0.85 forecast and sell-side consensus (according to Consensus Metrix) of $0.73. There was a $31 million one-time payment to distribution centers for obsolete inventory, and an increase in bad debt reserve (related to rents and royalty deferrals) of $45 million. By our math, these items combined represent about 8 cents on an EPS basis. For more info see today’s 8-K at:
http://d18rn0p25nwr6d.cloudfront.net/CIK-0000063908/ fea3a523-303b-43df-830a-5228f5ee4148.pdf

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12:00 AM

MCD (Post-Call) U.S. Same-Store Sales Trends Improving

Earlier today, McDonald’s (MCD; Neutral, $183.93) reported Q1 EPS of $1.47, short of our $1.52 forecast and sell-side consensus (according to Consensus Metrix) of $1.55. SG&A/Revenues of 12.5% (versus our 11.7% projection) accounts for the difference between Q1 EPS and our EPS estimate. However, part of this SG&A relates to non-recurring costs, such as $40 million for the company’s cancelation of its biannual worldwide convention, and $20 million for “payments of contractual obligations as [McDonald’s] reduced the scope and ongoing spend in R&D work of certain restaurant technology.”

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12:00 AM

MCD (Post-Call) Robust Q4 Results, But SG&A Will Weigh on 2020

Earlier today, McDonald’s (MCD; Buy) reported Q4 EPS (excluding an $0.11 worth of income tax benefits due to new regulations) of $1.97, below our $2.00 forecast, but one cent above sell-side consensus (according to Consensus Metrix) of $1.96. Closely-watched U.S. same-store sales rose by +5.1% in Q4, nearly matching our +5.0% projection, and coming in 40 basis points above consensus of +4.7%. Fourthquarter same-store sales for International Operated (+6.2% actual vs. our +5.5% estimate and +5.3% consensus) and International Licensed (+6.6% actual vs. our +6.0% estimate and +6.4% consensus) also came in above expectations.

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12:00 AM

MCD (Post-Call) Fundamental Challenges Expanding

Earlier today, McDonald’s (MCD; Neutral) reported third-quarter EPS of $2.11, falling short of our $2.21 forecast and sell-side consensus (according to Consensus Metrix) of $2.21. Tax rate accounts for $0.02-$0.03 of the difference between actual and our forecast. Other factors behind the EPS miss include lower-thananticipated revenues from franchisee/affiliates ($3.014 billion actual vs. $3.090 billion projected), weaker-than-projected franchised margins (81.4% actual vs. 81.9% projected), lower-than-anticipated Other Operating Income ($49.5 million actual vs. $66.2 million estimated), and higher-than-forecasted SG&A/Revenues (10.0% actual vs. 9.8% forecasted).

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12:00 AM

MCD (Post-Call) More Fresh Beef for the Bulls

Earlier today, McDonald’s (MCD; Buy) reported adjusted Q2 EPS of $2.05, one cent short of our $2.06 forecast, but in line with sell-side consensus (according to Consensus Metrix) of $2.05. However, investor eyes may be more focused on the robust Q2 same-store sales trends across the board.

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12:00 AM

MCD 2019 Franchise Disclosure Document Review for McDonald’s

Not too long ago, McDonald’s (MCD; Buy) filed its 400+ page Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) for 2019. In this report, we cite some of the highlights from that document following our review of it, including our review of it in comparison to last year’s Franchise Disclosure Document. For example, for the 11,761 domestic traditional McDonald’s restaurants that were open for at least one year as of December 31, 2018, their median sales volume was $2,764,000 during 2018, with approximately 58% of them attaining sales in excess of $2,600,000. This compares with the 12,169 domestic traditional McDonald’s restaurants that were open for at least one year as of December 31, 2017, and their median sales volume of $2,703,000 during 2017, with approximately 55% of them attaining sales in excess of $2,600,000. In addition, as of 12/31/18, McDonald’s anticipated opening about 50 new restaurants in the U.S. during 2019 (nearly all of them franchised), but closing approximately 105 restaurants in the U.S. during 2019. This anticipated net change of about -55 for 2019 compares with actual net changes of -117 for 2018, -124 for 2017, -98 for 2016, and -93 for 2015.

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12:00 AM

MCD Updating our Forecasts 2019

Given our latest data-driven checks, we raise our Q2E same-store sales forecast for McDonald’s U.S. by 60 basis points, to +4.6%, placing us 60 basis points above consensus (according to Consensus Metrix data) and also as the second-highest forecast in this regard on the sell-side. We believe McDonald’s continues to benefit for a number of reasons, some of which we pointed to in our May 6th report “April Burger-Sector Sales Trends Compared to March…” — we encourage you to read that report if you have not yet done so.

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12:00 AM

Are Protein Costs Poised to Accelerate Over 2019-21

African Swine Fever (ASF) is spreading rapidly not only in China — where it seems as many hogs have been culled from herds in that country as there are born in the entire United States in any given year — but also in other parts of Asia, not to mention parts of Europe. Based on our conversations with suppliers to the restaurant industry, and also with privately-held restaurant companies, we believe that commodity-cost risks over the next 1-3 years from proteins may be higher than the Street currently anticipates. The sources of this are many, including: (1) uncertainty regarding just how massive the ASF issue is in China, (2) the time it will take to replenish swine supplies in China — the time from gestation to slaughter is typically more than 30 months, and (3) the not-zero possibility that ASF could make its way to the United States, although efforts are being made on multiple fronts to prevent that from happening. As many involved note, the situation regarding ASF remains fast-moving and difficult to quantify.

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12:00 AM

April Burger-Sector Sales Trends Compared to March…

In our April 8th report “Tidbits re: Burger-Sector Same-Store Sales Trends, and SBUX,” we noted that “With March 2019 now in the rear-view mirror, we are pleasantly surprised that this month appears to have turned out very well for burger-sector same-store sales. In fact, based on our proprietary, data-driven checks, the midsingle digit number put up by U.S. quick-service burger chains for March 2019 looks like the best month in this regard since February 2016, for which some concepts (depending on their accounting methodologies) were helped by that month’s extra Leap Day.”

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12:00 AM

MCD (Post-Call) Weak Same-Store Sales Trends Not Today

Earlier today, McDonald’s (MCD; Buy) reported its Q1 EPS of $1.72, above our $1.71 forecast, but below the sell-side consensus of $1.75. But the real story is that U.S. same-store sales rose by an unexpectedly robust +4.5%, easily surpassing our above-consensus +3.2% projection. McDonald’s attributes the strong showing to “successful promotions, including the Bacon Event, the 2 for $5 Mix and Match deal, and Donut Sticks, as well as a net positive impact from our Experience of the Future deployment.” On this latter front, management noted on today’s conference call that this is the first time ever that it can make this statement. We look for this effect to continue in coming quarters.

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12:00 AM

MCD Our Latest Proprietary McDonald’s Franchisee Survey Says 4.19

Based on the results of our latest proprietary McDonald’s Franchisee Survey, we retain our Q1E U.S. same-store sales forecast at +3.2%. In the previous 80 iterations of the McDonald’s Franchisee Survey, the survey result has been within 200 basis points of the McDonald’s U.S. same-store sales number reported shortly thereafter 73 times (91.3% of the time), and within 100 basis points of the McDonald’s U.S. same-store sales number reported shortly thereafter 56 times (70.0% of the time).

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12:00 AM

MCD Efforts to Speed Up the Drive-Thru Already Paying Off

So far this year, McDonald’s (MCD; Buy) U.S. same-store sales seem to be meaningfully outpacing those of its quick-service burger rivals. Why is this? How sustainable is it? While there are multiple reasons for McDonald’s success so far this year — for example, we believe fresh-beef Quarter Pounders and Quarter Pounder line extensions have sold rather well — this report focuses on improvements that we believe have been made in terms of average speed at the drive-thru. We believe there is room for significant improvement on this front, those improvements have started, and there’s plenty more to be had over time — all of which is good news for future same-store sales trends. We reiterate our Buy rating on MCD and note the following:

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12:00 AM
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