McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) has been struggling to revamp and grow for the past few years, to no avail. Both sales and earnings growth for the past five years have been meager, coming in at less than 4% a year for each. This year is shaping up to be no different for the iconic fast-food chain, as comparable-store sales fell, according to second-quarter earnings results released recently.
But let’s not pick on just McDonald’s. The old and well-established portion of the fast-food industry in general has been under siege for quite a while. For millions of people across the country, films like Supersize Me, Food, Inc., and other documentaries decrying our food supply are still fresh in mind and the food industry has been rapidly changing. I believe the proliferation of fast-casual dining experiences touting fresher, healthier, or more upscale fare in recent years — think Chipotle (NYSE:CMG), Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA), Shake Shack (NYSE:SHAK), or even Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) — is proof positive of the changing consumer tastes in America that are hurting McDonald’s and other well-established brands. The growth of the fast-food drive-up window has topped out, and many consumers are looking elsewhere for “all-natural,” “premium,” and “fresh” eating-out options.
Is there any hope that McDonald’s can recharge its growth?