The happiest place on Earth might be Disney World, but for many children, more often it's McDonald's ($NYSE:MCD). The most impenetrable, impervious, bulletproof food company America has ever produced still managed to get affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Global sales dropped 30% for the past few months, but there's no keeping down Ronald and co. for long!
As McRestaurants reopen around the world, but especially here in the US, it seems going forward people might be more inclined to trust the lifted restrictions and stop by their local Mickey D's in person. The combination of a safer delivery/drive-thru/curbside pick-up plan still led to decreased sales, since you can't drop your kid off at a ball pit anymore.
“Our strong foundation and the unique advantages of the McDonald’s System, including a high percentage of drive-thru restaurants and investments in delivery and digital, have enabled us to adapt to the changing landscape presented by the COVID-19 outbreak. I am confident in our ability to manage through the immediate challenges and emerge from this pandemic in a position of competitive strength," said CEO and President Chris Kempczinski in a statement.
So while we'll look at the impact of the Coronavirus on McDonald's, we want to make it very clear that the company is ready to go on the offensive and launch a campaign enticing customers to come back. First, there's a $200 million marketing blitz involving a new chicken sandwich. Then there's bringing back old menu items again, which might certainly say to people stuck indoors for months "it's okay to come back, we're open for good." And finally, with more than a thousand McDonald's reopened, it's only a matter of time until we find out if this summer was a return to normalcy, or the mark of a permanent decrease in sales for the fast-food juggernaut.
Domestic sales dropped by 19% in April and 5% in May, and we can see that within our data, this lines up with a decline in people saying they went to McDonald's on Facebook. Usually, this number is flat or increases quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, but there's been a noticeable drop for obvious reasons. While sales might be a good indication of how many people were served, it doesn't account for how they bought the food or how much. If our data suggest fewer people are going into the restaurant, that's still an uphill battle McDonald's has to face in these unprecedented times.
And as a fun fact to end this story, McDonald's employee count as tracked by our LinkedIn data show a 15% jump in headcount over 2020 so far. Which is very odd, considering there's no way that many new workers joined during an economic meltdown and global pandemic. It might just be that a lot of people don't unlist McDonald's as their employer, and naturally, the number goes up as any potential furloughs or layoffs occur.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.