Can the McRib Save McDonald's?

Can the McRib Save McDonald's?
Can the McRib Save McDonald's?

The McRib has been reintroduced to the McDonald's (MCD) menu, and the popular sandwich is hitting the Golden Arches at just the right time.

The love it or loathe it barbecue-slathered pork sandwich was supposed to be reintroduced back in late October, but the unseasonably warm weather pushed the McRib roll-out to Dec. 17. At least, that's the official release date. Many McDonald's franchisees are already serving the sandwich.

Why wait for the national marketing campaign to start when customers are craving the seasonal sandwich that sells well during the cool months of the year?

Pig Out

There are certainly critics of the McRib. It's a regular punch line on late-night shows. Health advocates also aren't impressed.

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The nutritional information is also not for the squeamish. The 500 calories count isn't horrendous, but the 26 grams of fat and the 10 grams of saturated fat are problematic. That's 48 percent of the recommended daily intake of saturated fat in a single sandwich.

However, the chain's lone pork sandwich always seems to draw attention whenever it's introduced during the chilly months, when patrons are looking more for comfort food to keep warm than for reasons to bellyache over diets.

It's nice timing on the part of the restaurant operator that watches over 34,000 restaurants and feeds 69 million patrons daily. It can certainly use a hand to beef up its financials.

This Little Piggy Went to Market

The world's largest restaurant chain impressed the market on Monday by announcing better than expected sales for the month of November. Comparable-store sales rose 2.4 percent worldwide, fueled by a 2.5 percent increase at domestic restaurants.

Even Europe bounced back, as strength in Russia and U.K. helped offset declines in Germany to deliver a 1.4 percent uptick in sales. Analysts were braced for flat comps and a small decline in the U.S. for the month.

It's easy to see why Wall Street was apprehensive. October was a disaster. For the first time since 2003, McDonald's posted a year-over-year dip in monthly comps. The 1.8 percent decline in global same-store sales for the month of October was weighed down by a surprising 2.2 percent hit at its domestic locations.

Industry watchers are now hoping that October was a fluke.

The McRib is back, and apparently so is McDonald's.

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Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of McDonald's. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of McDonald's. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in McDonald's.

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