NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- McDonald's (MCD), surprise surprise, is a global business that is still growing as if it's a startup. Not only are hundreds upon hundreds of shrines to the creepy Ronald McDonald being erected globally in 2014, the restaurant chain is full steam ahead on remodeling its locations to capture those crushing on the lunches/dinners served at Chipotle (CMG), Panera Bread (PNRA), Starbucks (SBUX), and Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD). But, unfortunately for many investors, they tend to neglect trends on the ground overseas that are shaping McDonald's consolidated financial statements.
In digging around, I found three things on McDonald's internationally that will provide a little shock and awe. They will also highlight the great lengths McDonald's is going to to remain relevant, which has ugly consequences: significant stress on the company's supply chain and franchise network.
At the end of April, McDonald's China will have opened its 2000th restaurant, with 12% being franchisee operated. The number of franchisees in China is set to expand to a whopping 25% by 2015 in a replay of the U.S. model. To gain some perspective on how out of control McDonald's is in China alone, by comparison Chipotle only has 10 international locations, all in Europe.
After the introduction of an American Vintage menu earlier this year, which included diner themed boxes for burgers and fries from the 1950s, 1970s, and 1980s, McDonald's Japan in late May will introduce three avocado burgers, with one being shrimp. Price: $3.90. Avocado prices are forecast to skyrocket by 30% this year due to drought conditions in certain growing markets, so I wonder if these burgers will even be profitable (beef prices have also surged)...In Germany, McDonald's has quietly introduced beef and chicken sandwiches with curry sauce for 1 euro. Previously, just a curry dipping sauce was available in the UK.
Undercover in Mcdonald's, Watch this Today
So we went undercover in a McDonald's, instantly found these problems.
-- By Brian Sozzi CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, analyst to TheStreet.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.