McDonald's Corp. said Wednesday that a key revenue figure climbed 6.7 percent in January as U.S. customers spent more on breakfast items, beverages and its new Chicken McBites.
The world's biggest hamburger chain's strongest January results were in the U.S., as revenue in restaurants open at least 13 months rose 7.8 percent there. The metric increased 7.3 percent in the region made up of Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and 4 percent in Europe.
The U.S. accounts for about 31 percent of Oak Brook-based McDonald's total revenue. Europe, which accounts for 40 percent of revenue, is McDonald's largest market.
McDonald's has fared well in the recession and its aftermath. It's added menu items like smoothies and oatmeal to try to draw in healthier eaters and pushed fancy coffee drinks to try to appeal to customers who might normally go to Starbucks. But it's still promoting itself as a cheap place to get a meal.
January's gain beat the 6.5 percent increase that analysts polled by FactSet expected. The company's stock gained 44 cents to $101.35 in premarket trading.
Revenue in restaurants open at least 13 months is a key measure of a restaurant chain's performance, because it excludes the impact of recently opened or closed stores. It does include the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company's temporarily closed restaurants.
The figures are a snapshot of money spent on food at both company-owned and franchised restaurants. They do not reflect corporate revenue.
In the U.S., customers snapped up Chicken McBites. The menu item, which is only available for a limited time, is made with bite-size pieces of chicken breast that are smaller than Chicken McNuggets.
Restaurants in the U.K., Russia, Germany and France helped drive revenue in Europe, while the Chinese New Year and limited-time menu items gave a boost to the Asia, Middle East and Africa region.
McDonald's, which is based in Oak Brook, Ill., has more than 33,000 restaurants in 119 countries. The chain is also revving up growth by expanding in emerging markets. CEO Jim Skinner said last month that McDonald's plans to add a net of 900 new restaurants in the coming year, concentrated in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.