KO), has shown no favorites as same-store sales continue to disappoint. Consequently, so has the stock, which is down almost 10% since April. I'm not going to deny that McDonald's has underperformed. But given the company's size and scale, we need to keep things in perspective. I'm reading articles suggesting that analysts are no longer "loving McDonald's." But this is not a situation where the company is losing market share. Sales do need to improve. But that's also the case at rival restaurants like Yum! Brands ( YUM), which, like McDonald's, posted 1% growth in same-store sales for restaurants open for at least a year. What's more, both companies trend neck-and-neck, including posting similar 1% growth in U.S., while experiencing soft sales in the rest of the world. The fact that consumer confidence has yet to fully emerge out of its pre-recession slump is a concern. I believe this has taken a toll on not only McDonald's, but even Wal-Mart ( WMT) has seen a reduction in store traffic. CMG), rising costs of protein can add pressure on menu items. But McDonald's has been through much worse. And let's not discount the fact that even though operating margin declined in the recent quarter, the company still posted a 2% increase in operating income. Essentially, amid rising food and labor costs, management still figured ways to squeeze a strong profit, helped by efficient cost controls.
It also looks as if the company's decision last quarter to drop items such as chicken selects and the fruit and walnut salad was a smart move. These changes come as the company recently added new breakfast items, including egg white sandwiches and chicken wraps, along with various Dollar-Menu offerings. In that regard, I believe McDonald's remains unparalleled when it comes to strategic pricing and outside-the-box thinking. Management never wastes time trying different things, nor do they hesitate to pull items off the menu that are not performing as expected. It is this mindset, along with the company's ability to innovate and its continued focus on service and value, that leads me to fully expect McDonald's to emerge from this rough patch with solid long-term profits. I'm not pretending that the company's near-term struggles don't matter. But I believe it's pointless and narrow-minded to assess McDonald's on the basis of one quarter or even one fiscal year. Follow @saintssense This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.