Now that the recession’s supposed to be just about over, it’s time to survey the battlefield and pick out winners, and nobody was a bigger winner than the Golden Arches, writes Daniel Gross for Slate. McDonald’s sales grew more in 2008 than in 2006 or 2007, and it opened 600 more stores even as its competitors were closing theirs down. So far, it’s had same-store sales boosts in every month of 2009. How’d Ronald do it?
- Cash-strapped consumers needed to trade down, and realized it's "a viable alternative to casual restaurants like Ruby Tuesday and to cooking at home."
- McDonald’s focused on coffee, a high-margin item that won over consumers rethinking their $4 Starbucks habit.
- Europe gobbled up their Royales With Cheese; McDonald's posted 6.9% same-store sales growth across the pond last quarter.
- McDonald's is actually an aspirational, middle-class brand in developing countries like China, India, and Indonesia—all economies that kept growing despite the recession.