McDonald’s [$MCD] long-awaited chicken sandwich is coming to a drive-thru nearest you on Wednesday, and analysts predict it to be one of the items that gives the fast-food giant’s financials a significant boost in 2021.
“Developing a reputation for great chicken represents one of our highest ambitions,” said Chris Kempczinski, McDonald’s CEO, on the call last month. “We’re building on the strength of core equities like Chicken McNuggets and McChicken sandwiches, which have seen significant growth, as we continue to focus on improving our large chicken sandwich offerings around the world.”
BTIG analysts say chicken is key even with the development of the McPlant sandwich in the works. “Looking ahead to the balance of this year, McDonald’s plans to focus efforts on its core menu including the launch of the new chicken sandwich in late February and digital engagement with the loyalty program debuting later this year,” analysts led by Peter Saleh said.
“This dynamic, in addition to the shift in marketing message toward value, leads us to believe that plant-based offerings have become a lower priority and likely won’t be available until 2022 or later.”
“U.S. same-store sales in January improved high-single digits, driven by all day parts as consumers received stimulus checks and restrictions eased,” wrote Truist Securities in a late January note. “We expect this momentum to continue throughout ’21, driven by the return of Spicy Chicken McNuggets, the launch of a new chicken sandwich (end of February) and new loyalty program later in the year.”
McDonald’s shares have dipped 2.7% over the past three months, but are nearly breakeven over the last year