McDonald’s beats profit estimates on U.S. drive-thru demand

(Reuters) – McDonald’s Corp MCD.N beat third-quarter revenue and profit estimates on Monday, as customers in the United States ordered more hamburgers and fries in drive-thru outlets and on delivery apps to avoid dining out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company’s limited-time promotional deal with rapper Travis Scott, which caused shortages of some ingredients, and other marketing investments also helped sales bounce back from pandemic lows, sending its shares over 6% higher amid broader market gains.

However, the world’s largest burger chain said its business was being pressured in key markets outside the United States including France, Germany and the United Kingdom by new lockdown restrictions due to a spike in virus cases.

Even before the new restrictions, McDonald’s overseas sales recovery had been sluggish compared to the United States, where its huge number of drive-thru lanes gave it an edge over rivals for customers looking for restaurant food without the risks of dining out.

Nearly 95% of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants have a drive-thru.

McDonald’s total revenue fell about 2% to $5.42 billion in the three months ended Sept. 30, largely recovering from the over 30% plunge posted in the second quarter.

Analysts on average had estimated revenue of $5.40 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

U.S. customer traffic still remained down from a year earlier, the company said.

Net income rose 10% to $1.76 billion, helped by gains from the sale of a part of McDonald’s stake in its Japanese affiliate.

Excluding those gains, the company earned $2.22 per share, beating estimates of $1.90.

McDonald’s reiterated previously reported quarterly same-store sales figures of a 4.6% rise in the United States and a 10.1% fall in international licensed markets.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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