NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Prepare to see more Golden Arches aglow as McDonald's (MCD) unveiled its plans to add at least 1,500 new locations to its total 35,000 over fiscal 2014, 50% more than over 2012. At the company's investor meeting on Thursday, senior management announced 2014 capital expenditure of $2.9 billion to $3 billion, providing for the openings of between 1,500 and 1,600 new restaurants and 1,000 renovations.
The fast-food joint said it will also add a third drive-thru window in refurbished and new stores in an attempt to curb slow service and reduce customer complaints. Executives admitted service had slowed at U.S.-based restaurants after new menu additions, such as the Egg White Delight McMuffin in June, were rolled out too fast, confusing the workflow.
"The pace of product introduction in my opinion [was] too fast," said President Jeff Stratton during the meeting. "In retrospect, I would have taken more time on that."
The Big Mac maker also reaffirmed its annual target of 3% to 5% system-wide sales growth and operating income growth in the range of 6% to 7%. The company expects commodity costs to increase by at least 4.5% in the U.S. and 2.5% in Europe.
"We are focused on those things within our control -- evolving to meet changing consumer preferences, investing to build demand, and maintaining our focus on execution and operations excellence," said CEO Don Thompson in a statement.
McDonald's has suffered from slowing sales and growth in recent months, as competitors, such as Chipotle (CMG) and Panera Bread Company (PNRA), draw customers away with more diverse and healthier menu options.