McDonald's Revenue 'Snapshot' Revs Up in January

McBites help drive results for restaurants open at least 13 months

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- McDonald's Corp. said Wednesday that a key revenue figure climbed 6.7% in January as U.S. customers spent more on breakfast items, beverages and its new Chicken McBites, according to the Associated Press.

The fast-feeder's strongest January results were in the United States, as revenue in restaurants open at least 13 months rose 7.8% there. The metric increased 7.3% in the region made up of Asia, the Middle East and Africa and 4% in Europe.

The United States accounts for about 31% of McDonald's total revenue. Europe, which accounts for 40% of revenue, is McDonald's largest market.

McDonald's has fared well in the recession and its aftermath. It has added menu items such as smoothies and oatmeal to try to draw in healthier eaters and pushed fancy coffee drinks to try to appeal to customers who might normally go to Starbucks. But it is still promoting itself as a cheap place to get a meal.

January's gain beat the 6.5% increase that analysts polled by FactSet expected.

Revenue in restaurants open at least 13 months is a key measure of a restaurant chain's performance, because it excludes the impact of recently opened or closed stores. It does include the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company's temporarily closed restaurants.

The figures are a snapshot of money spent on food at both company-owned and franchised restaurants. They do not reflect corporate revenue.

In the United States, customers snapped up Chicken McBites, the news agency said. The menu item, which is only available for a limited time, is made with bite-size pieces of chicken breast that are smaller than Chicken McNuggets.

Restaurants in the U.K., Russia, Germany and France helped drive revenue in Europe, while the Chinese New Year and limited-time menu items gave a boost to the Asia, Middle East and Africa region.

McDonald's has more than 33,000 restaurants in 119 countries. The chain is also revving up growth by expanding in emerging markets. CEO Jim Skinner said last month that McDonald's plans to add a net of 900 new restaurants in the coming year, concentrated in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.