McDonald’s draws inflation-weary customers

STORY: Inflation-weary diners are flocking to value meals.

McDonald’s on Thursday reported quarterly profits that beat estimates as traffic at the chain’s U.S. restaurants jumped 6.2% in September compared to a year ago, outpacing visitor increases at other quick-service restaurants, which rose about 1%, according to location data from Placer.ai.

People are coming for value, but they are paying more.

Along with other fast-food chains, McDonald's raised prices of burgers and fries to keep up with surging costs. Its US menu prices rose over 10% in the third quarter.

Unlike the last recession when McDonald's relied on its dollar menu to retain low-income customers, the chain plans to ride out the expected economic downturn using digital orders and delivery.

Its “Happy Meal” for adults ran in October and drove the highest US digital transactions ever, according to McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski, who also said that he expects a mild to moderate recession in the US and one that is “a little deeper and longer in Europe.”