McDonald's COO urges franchisees to open on Christmas: Ad Age

Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:47pm EST
 

By Lisa Baertlein

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp (MCD.N: Quote) is urging U.S. restaurant owners to take the unusual step of opening on Christmas Day to deliver the world's biggest hamburger chain with the gift of higher December sales, AdvertsingAge reported on Monday.

The request - which comes as McDonald's tangles with resurgent rivals such as Wendy's WEN.O, Burger King BKW.N and Yum Brands' (YUM.N: Quote) Taco Bell chain - would be a break from company tradition of closing on major holidays.

"Starting with Thanksgiving, ensure your restaurants are open throughout the holidays," Jim Johannesen, chief operations officer for McDonald's USA, wrote in a November 8 memo to franchisees - one of two obtained by AdvertisingAge.

"Our largest holiday opportunity as a system is Christmas Day. Last year, (company-operated) restaurants that opened on Christmas averaged $5,500 in sales," Johannesen said.

"The decision to open our restaurants on Christmas is in the hands of our owner/operators," McDonald's spokeswoman Heather Oldani told Reuters.

Don Thompson took over as chief executive at McDonald's in July and has the difficult task of growing sales on top of last year's strong results in a significantly more competitive environment.

McDonald's monthly global sales at established restaurants fell for the first time in nine years in October, but unexpectedly rebounded in November.

The November surprise was partly due to a 2.5 percent rise in sales at U.S. restaurants open at least 13 months.   Continued...

 
A McDonald's sign is shown at the entrance to one of the company's restaurants in Del Mar, California September 10, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake