There is zero room to accuse McDonald’s of being a stagnant restaurant company. Under CEO Steve Easterbrook’s leadership, the global giant continues to shift. These moves include, but are nowhere near limited to: fresh beef in Quarter Pounders, mass delivery, removing cheeseburgers from Happy Meals, kiosks, cage-free eggs, and operationally, a refranchising initiative that has increased the company’s franchise unit ratio from 81 percent to 91 percent in just three years.

With global same-store sales growth of 5.3 percent in fiscal 2017, year-over-year, it’s crystal McDonald’s has seen success from these risk-taking initiatives. This was the company’s best sales performance in six years. Before 2017, customer traffic dropped in each of the past three fiscal calendars.

Actually pinpointing these changes and separating them, and trying to define which factors are driving the turnaround more than others, can be difficult. For example, understanding the effect of removing high-fructose corn syrup from buns is more a long-term vantage point than an immediate count-the-dollars one.

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