The world's largest hamburger chain, whose shares fell nearly 3 percent, said sales at restaurants open at least 13 months rose 3.5 percent worldwide. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for an increase of 4.3 percent.
Same-restaurant sales rose 3.9 percent in the United States and 2.7 percent in Europe, McDonald's largest market. They missed analysts' growth estimates of 4 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively.
The company reported a 0.3 percent decline Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa, while Wall Street had forecast a rise of 3.5 percent.
Asia was dragged down by a sharp decline in comparable sales in Japan, where consumers are still adjusting to the aftermath of the March earthquake and tsunami.
Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald's shares fell 2.8 percent to $86.10 in premarket trading.
McDonald's sales and profits for months have been the envy of the global fast-food industry, which means that the company is punished when results meet or miss expectations.
The company has been outpacing rivals like Wendy's Co
Earlier this week, Red Lobster and Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc
But Irene had only minimal impact on McDonald's sales, a company spokeswoman said.
(Additional reporting Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)