McDonald’s Slims Down in the U.S. for the First Time

McDonald’s Slims Down in the U.S. for the First Time

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
By Millie Dent

For the first time in at least 45 years — and maybe the first time in its history — McDonald’s says that this year it will close more restaurants in the U.S. than it opens.

An Associated Press review of McDonald’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission found that the company hasn’t slimmed down the number of restaurants it operates in the U.S. since at least 1970. McDonald’s as we know it was founded in 1955 and grew quickly in its early years, making it likely that 2015 will be the first time it takes down more Golden Arches than it puts up in the U.S.

Related: Why Chipotle Wants to Give Its Workers More Than a McJob

McDonald’s does shutter underperforming locations every year, but up until now the number of closings has been outweighed by new openings. The world’s biggest hamburger chain has been struggling to grow sales as consumers turn to chains like Chipotle and Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which market themselves as serving better food and ingredients. 

McDonald’s is still growing globally, though. It has about 36,000 locations across the globe and plans to expand that total by about 300 this year. In addition, the chain is still indisputably the country’s largest hamburger chain, with more than twice as many restaurants as its main rival, Burger King.

McDonald’s spokeswoman Becca Hary told the AP that relative to the roughly 14,300 U.S. locations, the net reduction in U.S. stores would be “minimal,” though she declined to give an exact number. 

Chart of the Day: Long Way to Go on Coronavirus Testing

Healthcare workers with ChristianaCare test people with symptoms of the coronavirus in a drive-thru in the parking lot of Chase
Jennifer Corbett
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.

After Spending $2 Billion, Air Force Bails Out on Planned Upgrades of B-2 Bombers

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies over the Missouri Sky after taking off from the Whiteman Air For..
© Hyungwon Kang / Reuters
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.

Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”

Big Hurdle for Sanders’ Plan to Cancel Student Debt

Chip East / REUTERS
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.  

The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”

Number of the Day: $7 Million

NY mayor cites climate stance in endorsing Obama
By The Fiscal Times Staff

That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”