Even though Covid restrictions remain in effect in many countries, McDonald’s revenues have increased this year. Profits increased nearly 40% to $1.54 billion (£1.1 billion) in the last three months, significantly contributed by the return of US customers. Powerful growth was also seen in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada, partially offset by declines in Germany and France.
The fast-food giant is on the mend after describing 2020 as one of its “most difficult” years in January. Last year’s revenues were hampered by the coronavirus pandemic and lockout restrictions in many countries.
McDonald’s Back in Business amid Covid Restrictions
However, global sales recovered to pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter. Many nations, including the United States, started loosening restrictions on eating out, and President Biden’s stimulus spending placed more money in Americans’ pockets.
To entice customers back, McDonald’s introduced a new meal to its menu. Crispy Chicken Sandwiches were launched in February to compete with Chick-fil-A and Popeyes in the United States. However, the burger chain stated that it would “double down” on selling its core products, such as Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets, as well as continue to expand drive-throughs, delivery, and online options.
The increase in revenue contrasts with the chain’s global net profits falling 12% to $1.37 billion (£990 million) in the fourth quarter of last year. McDonald’s income dropped 22 percent to $4.73 billion in 2020.
However, according to the company, revenues in the first quarter of this year outpaced those in the same timeframe last year, even as resurgences of the virus and operational restrictions continue in many parts of the world.
“McDonald’s appears to be past the worst of the pandemic,” said Laura Hoy, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. “Its drive to broaden distribution and digital services should stand it in good stead far into the future.”
Since the first lockdown in March 2020, McDonald’s has been working with varying restrictions in the United Kingdom. It closed its doors at first, like many fast-food restaurants, but eventually reopened for takeout over the next few months, with additional safety features such as till screens and hand sanitizer dispensers.
McDonald’s drive-throughs in the United Kingdom reopened in May and June 2020, causing traffic congestion at some locations.
In October, just Eat Takeaway announced that orders had increased by more than 40% after adding 800 McDonald’s restaurants and 300 Greggs locations to its network. However, new UK lockout regulations forced McDonald’s to halt walk-in takeaways in January of this year. McDonald’s started steadily reopening outdoor dining areas throughout the UK on April 26.