McDonald’s is going to further embrace chicken in what it called a “significant opportunity.”
The fast-food chain indicated it would do so for the protein category on Wednesday, the day it laid out various initiatives during a closely-watched investor day.
In a press release, McDonald’s said it “continues to aggressively expand” via its chicken options like their McNuggets, McChicken, McCrispy and McSpicy. All of those, it said, have reached the status of “billion-dollar equities.”
For McCrispy, which was previously called the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, it crossed that threshold earlier this year, as previously reported by FOX Business.
The fast-food chain reported having a total of 17 billion-dollar menu items. The Big Mac, Quarter Pounder and world-famous fries are among some of them.
Its beef and chicken categories are roughly neck-and-neck size-wise at this point, McDonald’s also noted.
In a Thursday research note, JPMorgan analyst John Ivankoe said chicken “continues to be a rising star” on McDonald’s menu.
Chicken “is stealing the show and represents ~$25b in systemwide sales – equal to the company’s beef segment,” the research note said. “The global chicken market is said to be ~2x that of beef. McNuggets alone account for $10b in systemwide sales and have grown >10% annually since F19.”
As part of its efforts to capitalize on the popularity of chicken, McDonald’s said the McCrispy sandwich will be introduced to almost all of its markets before 2026. It will make McCrispy wraps and tenders too, according to the company.
McDonald’s previously sold snack wraps but stopped doing so in 2016.
Regarding the menu, McDonald’s additionally said on Wednesday its “Best Burger” initiative, first announced earlier this year, would arrive in “nearly all markets” by 2026. That involves various upgrades to its popular burgers aimed at making them juicier and more flavorful.
The JPMorgan research note, which upped the “overweight” McDonald’s stock price target to $300, also said McDonald’s core products, such as the Chicken McNuggets, Big Mac and Quarter Pounder, “have strong moats around them with no real substitutes lending to significant pricing power.”
Most recently, McDonald’s put out its quarterly earnings at the end of October.
For the first nine months of the year, the fast-food chain generated $19.09 billion in total revenues, including $6.69 billion in the third quarter. Its net income for the nine-month period was $6.43 billion.