Investment in marketing and the growth of the delivery sector have seen continued UK growth for McDonald’s, which plans to further boost sales in 2022 with the expansion of “the world’s largest loyalty programme”.
Customer-focused strategies have continued to drive sales at the fast food brand, according to its financial results for the final quarter of 2021. Global sales were up by more than 12% in the quarter compared to the previous year, and by nearly 11% on a two-year pre-Covid comparison.
In its top six markets, McDonald’s saw more than a quarter of sales come through digital channels in 2021, a 60% increase over 2020.
McDonald’s CFO Kevin Ozan told an investor call today (27 January) that the brand has gained market share in traffic in the QSR (quick service restaurant) sector in most markets since 2019. The brand hit an all-time high worldwide sales figure of $112bn (£83.6bn) in 2021, with 13.8% sales growth in its US home market.
Loyalty is the single biggest driver of digital adoption and MyMcDonald’s Rewards has exceeded expectations in terms of enrolment and participation.
Chris Kempcziski, McDonald’s
The UK market has also seen strong double-digit growth over two years, said Ozan.
“Our UK performance was driven by continued growth in our delivery business and strong marketing, featuring core menu items such as the Double Big Mac,” he said. The UK has also seen a positive consumer reaction to the McPlant range that, after a trial in 250 branches, is now available across the entire UK and Ireland estate.
The UK market will see the MyMcDonald’s loyalty scheme launch in further restaurants in the first half of this year. The scheme was unveiled in the UK earlier this month with an initial trial in 10 restaurants in the north of England, after launching in the US in July last year.
The scheme is available via the My McDonald’s app and enables customers to earn points from every order, which can then be exchanged for menu items. Customers will earn 100 points for every £1 they spend and can unlock different prizes based on the number of points they accumulate.
According to McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempcziski, the scheme is on its way to becoming the world’s largest loyalty programme after rapid growth.
“Loyalty is the single biggest driver of digital adoption and MyMcDonald’s Rewards has exceeded expectations in terms of enrolment and participation,” he said. “After just six months in the US there are over 30 million loyalty members enrolled and 21 million active members earning rewards.”
The US market has seen digital sales building month-on-month as a result, he added, while greater consumer insights are aiding the brand’s marketing efforts.McDonald’s launches loyalty scheme that rewards customers with Big Macs
“McDonald’s continued to set a new standard for marketing in our industry. We’re focused on taste, affordability, family and brand trust, and we’ve raised the bar on creative excellence with one of the most talented marketing teams in the world,” said Kempcziski.
The company plans to invest to make sure that its pattern of growth continues. “We used this momentum to lean into our competitive strength and build further advantage. Guided by our strategic plan ‘Accelerate the Arches’, we made significant investments behind our brand purpose to feed and foster communities while envisioning new ways for us to serve our customers, leveraging our growing digital capabilities,” said Kempcziski.
“It’s clear that there has never been a better time to be part of brand McDonald’s than right now.”
McDonald’s unveiled a new brand platform at the end of last year to showcase its work on sustainability. The ‘Change a little, Change a lot’ campaign highlights the small changes the fast food chain has made in the areas of youth, farming and waste.
It was the first major campaign to be launched by Michelle Graham-Clare, who took on the UK CMO role in August.
At the time she said: “This new brand platform will enable us to talk about the actions we’re taking to improve opportunities for young people, help growers adopt sustainable farming practices and ensure our packaging is made from renewable, recycled or certified sources.”