McDonald’s foot traffic up as consumers grapple with inflation

Yahoo Finance Live’s Julie Hyman and Brian Sozzi discuss McDonald’s foot traffic ahead of the fast food chain's earnings report.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: McDonald's is seeing a pandemic recovery. Post-pandemic recovery, I guess we should say, in foot traffic. The fast food restaurant seeing customers back in the door, but habits have changed lately. Brian Sozzi, what are we seeing from McDonald's?

BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah, some interesting new data from the folks at They have technology that tracks foot traffic at restaurants and a lot of the retailers. But as it pertains to McDonald's here, their latest data is indicating that the tide started to turn in terms of foot traffic to McDonald's locations in the US in early February.

I would say later February. February 28 visits to McDonald's restaurants increased 3.8%. As the pandemic started to lessen a little bit, and people went outside more, and of course, went back to the office, McDonald's traffic started to improve. Now most recently, Julie, they're noting visits for the first full week of April were up 5 and 1/2% versus the same week in 2019, or of course, pre-pandemic.

So that is a good positive indicator that suggests people are out there, more mobile. Perhaps they're ordering McDonald's in the afternoon and in the evening here. And you can see those visits there on the screen as well.

But perhaps when McDonald's reports earnings tomorrow, Julie, some of these increased foot traffic levels will show up in the company's quarter. You can see right there the times when folks are visiting McDonald's right now. Those times just starting to pick up later in the evening, likely as people return from work.

Now the wild card here, of course, Julie, is how much of an impact is inflation impacting McDonald's profits right now? That will be determined. Last but not least, McDonald's shares up 3% over the past month. The Dow is down 4.7%. And of course, there you have me, right there, my take, holding a McDonald's Happy Meal that I have not had in about 25 years. Lots to be determined to see if the Street is McLovin' this quarter for McDonald's.