McDonald's | International

Sales pick up significantly

McDonald's continues to recover from the Corona pandemic.
IMAGO / NurPhoto
McDonald's continues to recover from the Corona pandemic.

In the fourth quarter of last year, McDonald's sales rose by 13 percent to around six billion US-Dollars (around 5.3 billion euros). The foreign markets grew more strongly than the US market. According to McDonald's, this was partly due to the fact that significantly fewer restaurants were closed internationally than in the previous year.

McDonald's achieved overall system-wide sales growth of 21 percent in full-year 2021, according to a  company statement. The brand generated about $112 billion in sales and about $10 billion in global operating income. The industry leader's bottom line thus earned just over $1.6 billion more in the second Corona year than in 2020, although the company also benefited from proceeds from the sale of shares to McDonald's Japan.

Loyalty program pays off

Global like-for-like sales grew 17 percent, up 8 percent compared to 2019. U.S. like-for-like sales grew 13.8 percent year-over-year (+14.3 percent vs. 2019). This was also an increase in Q4: 7.5 percent (13.4 percent vs. Q4 2019). According to McDonald's, this result stemmed from strong increases in average receipts, which were achieved through strategic menu price increases. "Strong menu and marketing promotions, such as the McRib and Crispy Chicken Sandwich, as well as growth in digital channels driven by the company's loyalty program, also contributed to comparable sales growth," the brand announces.

Focus on customer experience

"While 2021 was a year of continued challenges around the world, the McDonald's System came together with unparalleled dedication and delivered truly exceptional performance," said McDonald's President and Chief Executive Officer, Chris Kempczinski. "We enter this new year with a clear focus on creating seamless and memorable customer experiences and harnessing our momentum to drive long-term, sustainable growth for all of our stakeholders."


COVID-19 continued to result in varying degrees of regulatory restrictions on restaurant hours of operation, limited seating capacity and, in some cases, dining room closures internationally, according to McDonald's. The company believes it has taken appropriate precautions, including guidance from health authorities, and will continue to adapt and improve its approach to protect the safety and well-being of its customers and employees.

European market

The brand does not provide specific figures for European country markets in its report, but it states: Strong operating performance and fewer restaurant closures associated with COVID-19 drove very strong positive comparable sales in France, the U.K., Italy and Germany. COVID-related government restrictions in the quarter resulted in relatively flat comparable sales in Australia. Comparable sales increased 8.2% on a 2-year basis.

McDonald's is the world's leading foodservice company, with more than 40,000 locations in more than 100 countries. About 93 percent of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are operated by independent local business owners, according to the company.
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