The world travelers reading this post will be aware of the sense of pleasure that one has in being abroad and finding a McDonald’s that looks and acts pretty much like the shop in one’s home town.
I remember the sheer delight of walking into a McDonald’s in Lima – McDonald’s wasn’t a favorite store at the time, but I embraced it with open arms, so happy to see a level of cleanliness and orderliness not typically present in a third-world country. A recent WSJ article says that one reason people love McDonald’s is “because they know what they’re going to get.” During this earnings season, there have been some surprises, however. McDonald’s has logged an unusual earnings report – unlike most multinationals, McDonald’s earnings were lifted by its businesses outside the U.S. Its adjusted earnings per share rose by 19%, with global sales growth at 4.2% and domestic sales at 2.4%. This is good news for shareholders, as the company is moving to sell more of its stores to franchisees and pass some of those proceeds on to shareholders. A fund of $25 billion has been set aside for these purposes, to be paid out to shareholders through 2019. After years of trailing in an index of restaurant stocks, it now has closed the valuation gap, at the same time managing to return 117% to investors, compared to 75% for the S&P 500, as a whole. It’s good to see a company that works hard at doing the right thing, reap benefits from their actions.