McDiscount: $1 soda, 2 for $5 deals lure more to McDonald's

NEW YORK (AP) - Cheap soda and burgers brought more people into McDonald's.

The fast-food company said Tuesday that sales in the U.S. rose 4.1 percent at existing locations during the third quarter, thanks to $1 soft drinks, coupons on its app and a two-for-$5 promotion called McPick 2. And with more people coming in, McDonald's said some also bought pricier burgers stuffed with crispy onions, kale or guacamole, which helped sales.

"We are serving more customers, more often," said CEO Steve Easterbrook.

McDonald's has been offering deals to fight off competition from other low-priced chains. It plans to offer more cheap eats next year, with items priced at $1, $2 and $3, the company said Tuesday.

Bill Fahy, an analyst at Moody's, said the boost in sales is "a good indication that the company's various initiatives are resonating well with consumers."

Besides discounts, McDonald's has also been tinkering with its menu as more people shun processed foods. It removed artificial preservatives from its nuggets and it plans to use fresh beef in Quarter Pounder burgers next year. And it has been modernizing its restaurants by adding mobile ordering and offering delivery through the UberEats app. About 5,000 of its nearly 14,000 U.S. locations will have delivery by the end of the year.

The company's McCafe drinks "performed well," said Chris Kempczinski, who oversees McDonald's U.S. business, but he didn't provide any numbers. The company rolled out espresso drinks, such as cappuccino and caramel macchiato, during the quarter and plans to remodel McCafes in its restaurants next year.

"McCafe can be a significant growth platform for us in the future," Kempczinski said.

Worldwide, McDonald's sales rose 6 percent at existing restaurants, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said.

Overall, McDonald's reported net income of $1.88 billion, or $2.32 per share, in the three months ended Sept. 30. That's up from $1.28 billion, or $1.50 per share, in the same period a year ago. Adjusted earnings came to $1.76 per share, a penny above what analysts expected, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue fell 10 percent to $5.75 billion, missing analyst expectations of $5.8 billion. The company said it brought in less revenue as it switched more stores from company-owned restaurants to ones owned by franchisees, especially in China and Hong Kong.

Shares of McDonald's Corp rose $1.74, or 1 percent, to $165.08 in afternoon trading Tuesday.


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