McDonald’s Corp.’s /zigman2/quotes/203508018/composite MCD -0.22% highly anticipated chicken sandwich launches on Wednesday, and analysts expect it to be one of the items that gives the fast-food giant’s financials a boost in 2021.
McDonald’s teased the menu addition in January , and again last week on Twitter.
Company execs also talked up its chicken plans during its most recent earnings call.
“Developing a reputation for great chicken represents one of our highest ambitions,” said Chris Kempczinski, McDonald’s chief executive, on the Jan. 28 call.
“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.”
BTIG rates McDonald’s stock buy with a $245 price target.
“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.”
Truist rates McDonald’s stock buy with a $243 price target.
McDonald’s shares have slipped 2.8% over the past three months, but have edged up 0.6% over the last year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.64% has gained 18% in the last 12 months.