McDonald’s plans plant-based burger, McPlant, and more
McDonald’s U.S. sales roared back in the third quarter with new menu items and attention-grabbing celebrity collaborations.
And the burger giant says more is coming. In a virtual meeting for investors Monday, McDonald’s said a much-anticipated chicken sandwich with pickles — an answer to competitors like Popeye’s and Chick-fil-A — will go on sale in the U.S. early next year. And the company is also developing its own plant-based burger, McPlant, which it will begin testing next year.
Shares of plant-based burger maker Beyond Meat plummeted 8% on that news. McDonald’s tested Beyond Meat patties at Canadian restaurants earlier this year, but ended the trial in April.
With new choices like spicy chicken nuggets and a meal deal promotions with rapper Travis Scott, McDonald’s exceeded most projections for the third quarter.
It wasn’t the same story outside of the U.S., where sales between July and September failed to match last year’s levels, and McDonald’s warned that a resurgence of coronavirus cases in key markets like France, Germany and the United Kingdom could force dining room closures and other restrictions.
McDonald’s same-store sales — or sales at locations open at least a year — jumped 4.6% in the U.S. Customer traffic fell, but when diners came, they spent more on larger group orders. Dinner was particularly strong, McDonald’s said, but other times of day were elevated as well.
The meal promotion with Scott, introduced in September, was the first time McDonald’s featured a celebrity’s name on its menu since a Michael Jordan-branded meal deal in 1992. For $6, customers could order Scott’s favorite meal: a Quarter Pounder, fries and a Sprite. Scott’s Cactus Jack brand also designed clothes for McDonald’s employees.
Ozan said there will be more celebrity tie-ups to come. Last month, McDonald’s introduced a limited-time meal collaboration with Colombian singer J Balvin.
McDonald’s also got a lift from the September introduction of spicy McNuggets. It was the first time the company had introduced a new style since McNuggets debuted in 1983.