McDonald’s said it would open 150 new stores in China this year where customers would be able to personalize their burgers to their taste, Reuters reported Friday. The world’s largest fast-food restaurant chain that currently has 11 such stores in China beat Wall Street expectations for quarterly sales this week, powered by its all-day breakfast menu and a revival in demand from the Asian country.
McDonald’s would open 150 "Create Your Taste" outlets that would allow customers to build their burgers from ground up, Regina Hui, senior director of communications for McDonald's China, told Reuters in an email.
Hui said that the specialized outlets had received “very positive feedback” from Chinese diners, amid intensifying competition due to a boom in alternative fast-food store chains and greater health awareness. "They like the taste of burgers, the digital experience and the table service," Hui said.
Recovering from a food safety scandal in July 2014, McDonald’s posted a 4 percent rise in same-store sales in China, the second straight quarter of growth after a year of falling sales. Although same-store sales of the U.S. burger chain and rival Yum Brands Inc. remain below pre-scandal levels in China, globally same-store sales of McDonald’s rose 5 percent, above the 3.2 percent reportedly expected by analysts.
However, analysts believe that it will be tough for the two fast-food giants to spur the rapid growth seen before 2012 as more and more Chinese diners look for healthier options.
"It's back to par rather than getting ahead too much, but it's good for them to see stable sales," Ben Cavender, Shanghai-based principal at China Market Research Group, told Reuters.
McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook, who took over from Don Thompson in March, implemented a turnaround plan last year that involved making the menu simpler, improving service times and raising worker wages. Earlier this week, the company announced plans to increase its investment in Russia and open more stores there in 2016.