AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
McDonald's is definitely not loving its numbers right now. It said today November sales in the U.S. were down nearly 5 percent compared to a year ago.
As NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, the company continues to struggle for solid footing.
YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: John Gordon has either worked in or tracked the fast-food industry for four decades. The consultant with Pacific Management Consulting says today's announcement had his colleagues abuzz.
JOHN GORDON: McDonald's news this morning was jarring.
NOGUCHI: The world's biggest hamburger chain has had some well-publicized problems lately. This summer, it faced a scandal over a Chinese supplier selling expired meat. Russian authorities are cracking down on McDonald's in what's believed to be an anti-American campaign.
GORDON: It's not one thing, you know, by any means.
NOGUCHI: But continuing sales declines in the home country raises concerns that the company's business problems may be more fundamental. Gordon says McDonald's has lost ground in the competition over breakfast. It adopted a social media loyalty strategy late. Plus, its offerings are increasingly complex.
GORDON: What menu complexity does is it makes your marketing a little less efficient. It makes your operations a little less efficient.
KATHRYN SLATER-CARTER: We've got so many menu items that we can't meet their timeline from order to presentation.
NOGUCHI: Kathryn Slater-Carter and her husband run a McDonald's franchise in Daly City, California. She says it's true the menu is a lot more complicated these days, but doesn't think the longer waits are the main issue.
SLATER-CARTER: I have a waited in line for half an hour in a drive-thru at In-N-Out.
NOGUCHI: She says McDonald's needs to give franchisees more say in business operations. She says that would allow them to better cater to customers. She's backing state legislation that would expand franchisee rights. For its part, McDonald's says it will update investors on its financial performance on Wednesday.
Yuki Noguchi, NPR News, Washington.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.