McDonald's Corp. franchisees remained pessimistic about the company's turnaround efforts during the much-hyped rollout of all-day breakfast, according to an internal survey.
Only about 14 percent of McDonald's domestic franchisees think the chain's comeback plan is working, according to results from a survey of owner-operators obtained by Bloomberg News. And just 35 percent of franchisees are confident in McDonald's long-term future success, a drop from 46 percent in the prior year. The survey, which the company conducts annually, was completed in October and November.
McDonald's posted U.S. same store sales growth of 5.7 percent for the fourth quarter — the best performance in almost four years. The company cited its shift to all-day breakfast as well as mild winter weather for fueling the gain. In October the company also reported positive sales in the United States, lifted by a $2.50 meal deal. The stock jumped 8.1 percent that day — the biggest increase in seven years.
Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook, who took over last March, has said the company is committed to its turnaround plan, which includes "running great restaurants, driving operating growth, creating brand excitement and enhancing financial value."
"While we are pleased with the recent positive momentum in the U.S., it will take at least six more months of positive comparable sales and guest count growth to progress through the sustained and prolonged growth phases of our turnaround," he said in January.
The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company didn't respond to a request for comment.
McDonald's ties with its franchisees are critical, especially in the U.S. Of the company's 14,000 domestic restaurants, about 90 percent are independently owned. More than 3,000 domestic franchisees pay royalties and rent to the company. They also contribute to advertising funds.
The survey included responses from 1,468 franchisees.
On a positive note, more than half of the franchisees said their restaurant operations are better than a year ago.