McDonald's Profit Hit By Rising Costs, Pandemic Curbs

By Dave Simpson
McDonald's Profit Hit By Rising Costs, Pandemic Curbs

McDonald's Corp has missed revenue and profit expectations, as higher costs and tepid sales in its over 4,500 restaurants in Australia and China due to COVID-19 pandemic-led curbs ate into gains from growth in the United States in the fourth quarter.

Operating Costs

Operating costs rose 14% to $3.61 billion as supply chain bottlenecks led the world's largest burger chain to spend more for ingredients such as chicken and beef, as well as packaging material.

Food And Paper Costs

US food and paper costs rose 4% in 2021 - a level the company expects to roughly double in 2022, it said.

CEO Statement

"A surge in COVID-19 cases and a return of restrictions in many of our markets are creating uncertainty around the world, exacerbating labor shortages and supply chain delays," CEO Chris Kempczinski said on an earnings call.

Shuttered Seating Areas And Reduced Hours

In the United States, the company's biggest market, approximately 20% of US restaurants have shuttered their seating areas because of staff shortages or local COVID-19 outbreaks and approximately 1% of US stores are operating with reduced hours.


Shares fell slightly after the market opened. On a per share basis, McDonald's earned $2.23, missing analysts' average estimate of $2.34.

China And Australia

Sales in China contracted after some cities banned dining in restaurants to control fresh pandemic outbreaks ahead of the February Winter Olympics. In Australia, sales growth remained muted compared to a year earlier.

US Same-Store Sales

However, the Chicago-based chain's US same-store sales increased 7.5% compared to analysts' estimate of a 6.8% rise, thanks to the launch of special menu items such as McRib, celebrity promotions, loyalty programme-driven growth in digital sales and menu price increases of about 6% in 2021.

Sales Growth In Italy, Germany, France And The United Kingdom

Sales growth in Italy, Germany, France and the United Kingdom also helped boost global revenue by 13% to $6.01 billion in the three months ending 31 December, just shy of a market expectation of $6.03 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

Global Same-Store Sales

Global same-store sales jumped 12.3%, compared with Wall Street estimates of a 10.73% rise.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.