McDonald’s confronts falling customer counts

January 23, 2017

This post is part of the On the Margin blog. 

Amid the euphoria over same-store sales increases at McDonald’s Corp. last year was this undeniable fact: Its customer count remained weak.

McDonald’s sales increases came from higher prices and from consumers adding items like Egg McMuffins to traditional lunch orders. But customers were reducing overall visits.

Last year, guest counts fell 2.1 percent at the Oak Brook, Ill.-based burger giant. That came on top of a 3-percent decline the year before.

In fact, it was the fourth straight year that customer counts fell in McDonald’s important home market. The chain’s traffic