“We grew by 5.1 in net sales [in 2008],” CEO Bane Knezevic said at a press conference in Munich on Monday. “We greeted an average of 2.58 million guests per day. That is an increase of 1.6 percent compared to 2007.”
Germany is McDonald's third-largest market and the company attributes the new growth to what they call a “quality offensive” than includes modernised restaurants that include the new, friendlier McCafé “atmosphere” at 858 of the country's 1,333 locations.
“We want to grow further this year and create 2,000 new jobs,” Knezevic said. Last year the company reported adding 3,000 new positions and 40 locations.
Business people are apparently switching to McDonald's for their lunchtime breaks, Knezevic told daily Der Tagesspiegel on Tuesday.
But head of the GfK market research institute Wolfgang Twardawa told the paper he doubts whether the fast food chain can profit from the recession, saying research has shown that people shop at supermarkets instead of going out to eat during hard times.
Researchers won't know how consumers have changed their habits until mid-2009, so the company's 2008 sales increase isn't a good indicator for their hopeful prognosis, Twardawa said.
“In 2008 people consumed as normal,” he told the paper.