Photograph: Alan Diaz/AP
The deepening food crisis in Venezuela has forced McDonald’s largest franchisee, globally, to halt sales of Big Macs because the company is unable to obtain the flat, center bun that separates the two burger patties.
This is hardly the only crisis affecting McDonald’s recently. First, while the ‘all day breakfast’ concept initiated in the fourth quarter of last year remains popular, it seems to be doing so at the expense of other menu items. The company’s domestic sales in the U.S. grew a mere 1.8% in the last three months – half of what Wall Street was anticipating. That, CNNMoney reported recently, “represents a slowdown from the 5.4% growth in the first quarter of the year.”
The Guardian noted that the earnings disappointment was also reflected in a 4% revenue loss, to $6.26 billion, as the burger giant suffered, like many of its competitors, in the face of growing uncertainty among consumers.
But The Washington Post declared that, “Adding the anytime breakfast accomplished important things for McDonald’s: It showed customers that the company was listening to them. And it demonstrated to investors that new chief executive Steve Easterbrook is willing to take bold steps — not just make incremental tweaks — to try to pull the burger chain out of its rut. But, even though McDonald’s plans to make more items available on its all-day breakfast menu later this year, the offering appears to be bumping up against its limits in terms of its ability to drive long-term sales growth.”
With sales down, stock prices followed in the same direction, with share prices falling 4% on one recent day – this after the 30% share price gain the company enjoyed over the past year.
Meanwhile, one franchisee in Wales decided to let nothing stand (or stagger) in its way of boosting its share of the late night, post-pub crowd: It opened, initially at an outlet in the city of Llandudno, a walk-through lane for customers incapacitated by drink and sensibly not driving or, in one instance, out for a late-night horseback ride. (The latter man, who appeared to be and sounded intoxicated, actually used the drive-through lane, before the walk-through version was established.)