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McDonald's: Encouraging McPlant Trends in San Francisco and Dallas

RJ Hottovy
Jul 1, 2022
McDonald's: Encouraging McPlant Trends in San Francisco and Dallas

Key McDonald's Metrics

It’s been a few months since we looked at McDonald’s McPlant test, which expanded from 8 test locations across 4 states last year to 600 locations across San Francisco and Dallas in mid-February. While the QSR sector has benefited from consumers’ increased focus on value, we’re seeing evidence that new menu innovations or promotions (including celebrity-inspired meals) can have a positive impact on visitations (look no further than Taco Bell’s recent Mexican Pizza promotion). As such, we wanted to examine McDonald’s recent visitation trends in the San Francisco and Dallas markets to see how the products are being received by consumers. Early trends are encouraging, as YoY visitation trends in both markets have exceeded company averages.

Of course, there may be other factors at play, so we compared nationwide QSR industry visitation trends to these two markets over the same period. QSR chains across the San Francisco market have seen significant increases in YoY visitation trends year-to-date, likely at least partly due to lapping COVID-related operating restrictions last year. Comparing McDonald’s visitation trends in San Francisco suggests that the McPlant is having a positive impact. However, the real story is in Dallas, where McDonald’s locations have the QSR average in these markets by a wide margin. While it’s likely too early for McDonald’s to commit to a nationwide launch for the McPlant, we suspect that the company will mention that the product has helped the brand reach new customers on its upcoming 2Q22 update.

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RJ Hottovy

Head of Analytical Research, Placer.ai

R.J. Hottovy, CFA has covered the restaurant, retail, and e-commerce sectors for nearly 20 years as an equity analyst and strategist for Morningstar, William Blair & Co., and Deutsche Bank.

R.J. also brings a wealth of experience with early-stage investments as an investment committee member for the IrishAngels / Vitalize venture capital group. Over the past three years, he has advised over 50 foodservice and foodservice tech companies on more than $200 million in early-stage capital raises and M&A transactions.

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