NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

McDonald's

(MCD) - Get Report

reported strong fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday that could prompt the company to demand a little more change from customers' pockets at the drive-thru.

The fast food restaurant company, based in Oak Brook, Ill., showed a profit of $1.38 billion, or $1.33 a share, on revenue of $6.82 billion, driven by changes in 2011 that included food promotions and brand re-imaging developments in the United States and Europe, and locally-relevant menu options in Asia/Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

McDonald's beat the estimates of analysts polled by

Thomson Reuters

, who expected the company to earn $1.30 a share on $6.81 billion in revenue.

"We are enhancing the customer experience -- from our menu and service to our value and convenience -- while giving more people more reasons to visit McDonald's more often," CEO Jim Skinner said in a statement.

The strong quarter could trigger a move by the fast-food franchise to boost its prices because beef expenses are on the rise and the recession that ended in June 2009 is thought to be leading to an increase in consumer spending.

The company bumped prices up about 1% in March and 1.4% in May

to offset higher ingredient costs, which chief of finance Peter Bensen said at the time hadn't deterred customers.

The same time a year ago, McDonald's reported per-share earnings of $1.16 on $6.21 billion in revenue.

The company said that it planned to use half of a $2.9 billion reinvestment of capital to open 1,300 new restaurants and re-image another 2,400.

Shares of McDonald's were slightly lower in premarket trading Tuesday at $100.81, down 14 cents. The stock's 52-week high of $102.22 was reached Friday.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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