Internal emails show McDonald's turnaround is in trouble

McDonald’s turnaround is facing a major roadblock.

The company has successfully reversed a long slide in same-store sales over the last year, but it still hasn’t figured out how to get more customers in the door, according to internal documents obtained by Bloomberg.

Customer traffic at McDonald’s has declined for four consecutive years, following at least four straight years of gains, according to the documents.

In an internal email that was obtained by Bloomberg, McDonald’s said it has to grow sales, customer traffic, and cash flow to succeed, but that “today we are making uneven progress.”

The email was summarizing a September meeting between McDonald’s executives and franchise leaders.

“Growing guest counts is our main challenge,” the email reads. “Over the past 12 months, we have been pretty flat.”

McDonald’s did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on the documents.

McDonald’s US same-store sales growth has shown signs of slowing in recent months. That metric grew 1.3% in the US in the third quarter, following a 1.8% rise and a 5.4% rise in the second and first quarters, respectively.

In a recent survey by Nomura analyst Mark Kalinowski, franchisees warned that the excitement of all-day breakfast — which was launched one year ago — has been wearing off. They predicted flat-to-negative same-store sales growth for the rest of the year.

On average, the franchisees expect same-store sales growth to decline by 0.8% in the fourth quarter of this year.

“No way we can beat last year,” one franchisee wrote in response to the survey, which polled 30 operators who collectively run about 271 restaurants. There are more than 14,000 McDonald’s locations in the US.

Go to Bloomberg to read the full story on the internal documents.

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