OAK BROOK, ILL. – Increased competition in the US quick-service restaurant market has prompted McDonald’s Corp. to consider rolling out a national value platform. During the first quarter of the year, industry comparable traffic was negative, according to the company, and management expects it to be negative for the full year.

“I think the issue that we have in the US is in an environment where everybody is out there with a value message; there's an opportunity for us to drive better awareness of what our value platform is,” said Christopher J. Kempczinski, president and chief executive officer, during an April 30 conference call to discuss first-quarter results. “And one of the things that's going on in the US right now is the value message that I was talking about. We're doing it in 50 different ways with local value. What we don't have in the US right now is a national value platform at the same time that our competitors are out there with a national value platform.”

Kempczinski said McDonald’s US leadership team is in discussions with store owners and operators about what a platform may look like. In 2018, McDonald’s introduced its $1 $2 $3 value menu, and Kempczinski emphasized the success of the program but added that “it took a minute for that program to gain traction.”

Ian Frederick Borden, global chief financial officer, added that “2024 isn't going to be a typical year for the broader industry. I say that because we're certainly seeing … that the macro headwinds have been more significant than I think we even anticipated coming into the year, and we continue to see those macro headwinds as we have started quarter two.”

Affordability is where consumer expectations are heightened, he said, because they are experiencing high prices “across their full basket of goods and service.”

For the first quarter ended March 31, McDonald’s earned $1.92 billion, equal to $2.66 per share on the common stock and a 7% improvement over the first quarter of fiscal 2023 when the company earned $1.8 billion, equal to $2.45 per share.

Quarterly sales rose 5% to $6.17 billion from $5.90 billion.

A pre-tax $35 million restructuring charge affected comparability during the first quarter of fiscal 2024. During the same period of fiscal 2023, the charge was $180 million.

In the US, sales rose 2.5% when compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2023 while sales in International Operated Markets rose 2.7% and sales in International Developmental Licensed Markets fell 0.2%.

“It's worth noting that in Q1, industry traffic was flat to declining in the US, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan and the UK,” Kempczinski said. “And across almost all major markets, industry traffic is slowing. In the context of a difficult macro environment for the industry, we know our customers are looking for reliable everyday value now more than ever.”