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McDonald's customers are lovin’ chicken

McDonald's has returned to pre-pandemic levels of growth, driven by eased Covid-19 restrictions in some markets and US customers buying new chicken sandwiches and nuggets.

The company’s 2021 global comparable sales and revenues for the first quarter increased by 7.5%, surpassing first quarter 2019 levels, with growth across all segments. For the first quarter, net income rose to US$1.54 billion (2019 Q1: US$1.11 billion), and revenue increased by 9% to US$5.12 billion.

Earlier this year, McDonald's rolled out its crispy chicken sandwiches made with all-white chicken meat. Photo: McDonald's
Earlier this year, McDonald's rolled out its crispy chicken sandwiches made with all-white chicken meat. Photo: McDonald's

The results of the foodservice retailer, which has over 39,000 locations in over 100 countries worldwide, reflect strong positive comparable sales in the UK, Australia and Canada, partly offset by significantly negative comparable sales in France and Germany. Comparable sales in many markets continued to be impacted by varying levels of government-imposed Covid-19 restrictions on restaurant operations.

Fast-food chains have managed to weather pandemic restrictions much better than others in the industry, given their drive-throughs, delivery networks and competitive pricing, reports Reuters.

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Crispy chicken sandwiches

According to vice president of Menu Innovation, Linda VanGosen, customers are craving more chicken. In the US in February, McDonald's rolled out its crispy chicken sandwiches featuring a new fillet made with all-white chicken meat and brought back spicy chicken nuggets. Those factors, combined with celebrity marketing campaigns, helped power a 13.6% jump in sales at restaurants open for more than a year.