McDonald's and Coke Are Floundering Lately

Things have gotten so bad lately that people have lost faith in some longstanding American institutions. No, I’m not just talking about Congress and the Supreme Court — I’m talking about McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.

McDonald’s has been failing badly for a while now — this was the second straight quarter in which they reported losses across the board, and nothing is stemming the bleeding: sales fell 3.7% in August and 3.6% in September. August’s figure represents the worst monthly drop for the company in a decade. In the US, the decline is blamed largely on millennials seeking out fast casual options like Chipotle (despite the fact that Chipotle CEO Steve Ells is pretty high in the running for world’s smarmiest human) due to people suddenly being willing to trade a (somewhat) higher cost for a huge perceived jump in both quality and healthiness.

McDonald’s problems aren’t limited to US sales, either — it’s dealing with issues in Asia in the aftermath of the Husi Food Co. tainted meat scandal (a move that has affected more than just China). In Russia, McDonald’s has become a symbol for Poot-Poot’s regime to attack in lieu in order to stir up some bullshit nationalistic pride, and there are reports the chain is being specifically targeted by Russian health departments.

Some McDonald’s franchise owners interviewed on Business Insider blame the company for their mismanagement, saying their bungling, aggressive menu promotions and mandated restaurant upgrades (costs they off-load to the franchisee, because as we’ve discussed before, McDonald’s franchise agreements are bullshit) have been sinking the company’s business. One respondent literally said, “Nothing positive to say about McDonald’s or its future.”

Coca-Cola, meanwhile, doesn’t have any similar franchising issues or international scandals to blame for their falling stock — they’re just losing money hand over fist. They’re dealing with the same health issues McDonald’s faces, as Americans don’t seem to be into the idea of high sugar drinks as much as they used to (can you guys imagine Izze succeeding 20 years ago?), to which their solution has been to introduce lower-calorie drinks like Coke Zero.

Regardless, the good news for Coke is that their problems only extend to the national level — while their US sales fell 1%, their international sales were actually up by an equivalent margin.

Image via Jon Le-Bon/Shutterstock.

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