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Thu 28th Apr 2022 - McDonald's first-quarter results, Leonardo DiCaprio joins Neat Burger as strategic investor as it launches fundraise
McDonald’s reports global like-for-likes up 11.8% in first quarter with strong UK growth: McDonald’s has reported global like-for-likes were up 11.8% in its first quarter ending 31 March 2022 – with the UK seeing “strong” growth. Chief executive Chris Kempczinski said: “In a quarter that saw an increasingly complex and uncertain operating environment, I am proud to share that once again the Arches have shone brightly. Our strong performance in the first quarter was underpinned by global comparable sales up almost 12%, reflecting broad-based momentum across all segments. In most of our major markets, we sustained quick service restaurant traffic share gains by focusing on elevating our brand, accelerating digital channels and showcasing our core equities of chicken and beef. By staying on the side of the consumer and executing our strategy, Accelerating the Arches, we have continued to drive growth. It is why I believe there has never been a better time to be part of brand McDonald’s.” Digital systemwide sales exceeded $5bn, representing more than 30% of total systemwide sales in the company's top six markets. First-quarter like-for-likes were up 3.5% in the US, driven by “strategic menu price increases, strong marketing promotions featuring the core menu and growth in digital channels, which continued to benefit from the prior year launch of the company's loyalty programme – MyMcDonald’s Rewards”. Like-for-like sales in the quarter for the “international operated” segment, which includes the UK, were up 20.4%. McDonald’s said strong operating performance and the continued reduction of covid-related government restrictions in most markets drove positive comparable sales across the segment, led by strong comparable sales in France and the UK. In the “international developmental” licensed segment, first-quarter like-for-like sales were up 14.7%. The company said the quarter reflected strong comparable sales driven by Japan and Brazil, partly offset by negative comparable sales in China due to continued covid-19 resurgences and related government restrictions. McDonald’s added: “During the first quarter of 2022, McDonald’s announced it was temporarily suspending operations and closing restaurants in Russia and Ukraine. The temporary closures were effective at the end of February in Ukraine and mid-March in Russia. The company is supporting its businesses in these markets through the continuation of employee salaries and lease payments as well as providing support to the company's supply chain in the region.”

Leonardo DiCaprio joins Neat Burger as strategic investor ahead of global expansion, new fundraise launched: Actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio has joined the Lewis Hamilton-backed Neat Food Co, the parent company of Neat Burger, as strategic investor. It coincides with the launch of the company’s global expansion programme, which will start with a roll-out on the US. The business has also launched a Series B fundraise to underpin new product development, expansion of its consumer packaged goods (CPG) pipeline into supermarkets in the UK and US, and a recruitment push. The company, which recently launched a pop-up in Manhattan with a flagship New York City store opening in the autumn, expects to have 42 sites open globally by the end of this year, including 12 in the US; 231 by the end of 2024, and 436 globally by the end of 2026. It also plans to launch a US franchise programme by the end of this year. Last week, the group said it planned to have 1,000 sites by 2030 across the US and UK, followed by Europe and the Middle East. The business, which has launched the Series B fundraise primarily with US investors, said its roll-out will span major hubs across the US in a bid to fulfil its “vision to make sustainable food products an everyday staple as increasing numbers of conscious consumers look to reduce their meat intake and adopt a flexitarian lifestyle”. In addition to the US, Neat said it is launching later this year in Italy and the Middle East through corporately owned online and offline restaurants and franchise partnerships. DiCaprio said: “Disrupting our food system with sustainable alternatives is one of the key ways we can make a real difference in reducing global emissions. Neat Burger's pioneering approach to alternative-proteins is a great example of the type of solutions we need moving forward.” Tommaso Chiabra, co-founder and chairman of Neat Food Co, added: “Neat is on a mission to create a sustainably delicious future. We are using our brand to build community and lead the change for a more sustainable future of food. Our Series B raise will accelerate our global expansion and entry into the CPG market, so everyone can enjoy alternatives that not only taste delicious but have a positive impact on the planet.” The company also plans to roll out its award-winning burger patty, fish filet, and a range of other IP-owned products – including new and improved versions of its chicken patty, hot dog, nuggets and shakes – by the end of the year. The brand said it is already in talks with leading retailers in the US and UK about stocking its range. Earlier this month, the company made a series of key appointments as it prepares for international expansion, starting in the key US market. Leading the US expansion will be Vincent Herbert, former chief executive of Le Pain Quotidien, who joins as chief executive of Neat Burger USA, while former Sweetgreen chairman Jeffrey S Fried and ex-Joe & The Juice chief operating officer Henrik Fjordbak joined its advisory board. Co-founder Zack Bishti last month told Propel the brand will look to make its regional UK debut at the beginning of 2023 after the company, which currently operates eight sites in London, announced plans to open 30 new sites across the capital. It followed a $7m funding round, led by SoftBank’s Rajeev Misra, Neat completed at the end of last year, which at the time gave the business a $70m valuation.

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