With a Steep Decline in Sales, McDonald's Didn't Have Much to Be Thankful for in November

Last month the all-important figure dropped more than it has in a decade.

(Illustration: McDonald's)

Dec 9, 2014· 0 MIN READ
Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor.

By rolling out its “Our Food. Your Questions” transparency campaign and the McRib right around the same time, McDonald’s has once again shown its strange desire to be all things to all people. It’s a tendency that’s caused the chain’s menu to expand wildly over the last couple of years, with supposedly healthy items cropping up here, and calorie-loaded ones there.

But showing the inside of the McRib factory to one audience while hawking its stickily sauced addictiveness to another appears to be failing: McDonald’s suffered a steep decline in same-store sales in November, the 4.6 percent drop over last year’s figures representing the worst drop it has seen in 14 years.

This isn’t the death knell of fast food, however. McDonald’s blames the slide on “strong competitive activity,” losing customers “to fast-casual chains and to such rivals as Five Guys Holdings LLC and Chick-fil-A Inc. that focus on just a few menu items,” as The Wall Street Journal reports.

McDonald’s, which saw its stock slip on news of the drop in sales, says it's “diligently working to enhance its marketing, simplify the menu, and implement a more locally driven organizational structure to increase relevance with consumers.”

With this drop coming on the tail of another disappointing month—sales fell 4.1 percent in September—regaining that relevance appears to be a difficult task for McDonald’s.