McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) was considered in permanent decline two years ago, plagued by an outdated menu and a market share drop caused by smaller fast food chains, including Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG). A new menu which offers breakfast all day long, and other adjustments to the ways its stores are operated has made McDonald’s shares one of the few impressive performers among DJIA stocks this year.
McDonald’s shares are up 24.5% this year, second only to component Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) the shares of which are 22.7% higher. The DJIA is off 3.9% year to date to 17,128.55.
Much of the credit for the McDonald’s turnaround belongs to CEO Steve Easterbrook, who took the top job on January 28 this year. On October 6, McDonald’s launched its “All Day Breakfast” menu, presumably because customers preferred coffee and Egg McMuffins to the milkshakes and hamburgers which the fast food chain traditionally served later in the day.
McDonald’s same store sales in the U.S. rose .9% in its most recently reported quarter. The number seems modest, but it follows two years of dips. Menu changes beyond breakfast contributed:
The introduction of the new Premium Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Deluxe sandwich and breakfast, including a return to the classic recipe ingredients for McDonald’s iconic Egg McMuffin, contributed to the segment’s performance
McDonald’s improvement has come at a time when one of its major rivals is in trouble. Chipotle, which at one time had McDonald’s are its largest investor, has been fighting the discovery of E. coli in some of its food, and norovirus illness spread among some customers. The company recently released a statement about the discovery:
Work on Chipotle’s enhanced food safety program began immediately after reports surfaced at the end of October that linked 11 Chipotle locations in Washington and Oregon to E. coli cases in those states. Even though there is no evidence of exposures after the period ofOctober 13 to November 7, and no new illnesses have occurred since then, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionhave indicated that additional cases may yet be reported as cases make their way through various state health departments to the federal health officials.
The rise of McDonald’s been primarily due to management efforts, combined in small part with bad fortune at competitors.