McDonald's raised prices 10 percent in the last quarter, said Chief Financial Officer Kevin Ozan during Thursday's earnings call. But customers keep coming back.
The fast food giant reported a 9.5 percent jump in same-store sales worldwide, and a 6.1 percent increase in U.S. sales, which is nearly double Wall Street estimates.
Some of these gains came from higher guest counts (i.e. more customers buying from McDonald's), but the majority came from more expensive menu items.
"The majority of that check growth continues to come through price," Ozan said.
McDonald's in July said prices were up between 8 and 9 percent. Ozan said the new 10 percent figure is where he expects year-over-year price increases to be at the end of 2022.
The company wasn't totally immune to economic headwinds, however.
For example, the number of units per transaction is beginning to fall, after a huge spike in order size during the pandemic. Ozan explained that off-premise ordering encouraged customers to buy more items at once. Now they're reverting to more traditional ordering channels.
At the same, inflationary pressures are pushing some customers to "trade down," an industry term for buying cheaper items on the menu.
"We are seeing some trade down," Ozan said. "That trade down is mainly with our lower-income consumers. We're seeing a shift from meal purchases to more value-offer items."
He noted that these trends are off-setting some of the gains from higher prices.
The company also expressed some uncertainty about the economy going forward.
"It goes without saying that we are seeing global macroeconomic challenges that haven't been experienced in many years," said CEO Chris Kempczinski during the earnings call. "Inflationary pressures and related interest rate increases taken by central banks are combining to put significant pressure on the consumer and our industry."