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McDonald’s big sales growth expected as worker crunch looms

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McDonald’s BTS celebrity meals and crispy chicken sandwiches are expected to fuel a U.S. sales increase of 24% when the company reports second-quarter earnings on Wednesday, but analysts are eyeing whether labor shortages could slow growth.

If results for McDonald’s fall short of the mark, the lack of cooks and cashiers could be a culprit, along with competition from other restaurants reopening, independent analyst Mark Kalinowski said in a research note.

As the United States and other economies move toward emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase in demand for food and goods is exacerbating a shortage of servers, retail workers, truckers and delivery drivers. That crunch is causing slow service and menu outages.

McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinski told investors in June that the competition for workers is likely to persist for some time, according to a transcript from a Bernstein conference.

To be sure, many fast-food chains have recovered to pre-pandemic sales levels and are expected to keep reporting strong earnings as customers use drive-thrus and digital apps to place contactless orders for quick family meals.