Because of its past successes, the bar is set high for McDonald's, which can overly magnify the significance of small dips in performance. All in all, the fast-food giant is still doing pretty well, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. The fact that Ramadan fell during August this year may have provided a boost in these largely Islamic parts of the world, considering that McDonald's is a quick, cheap, and filling meal after daily fastings.

Europe's economic slowdown will surely affect McDonald's bottom line, since 40% of revenue originates from that region. However, it's not yet clear exactly how the economy will affect sales, and it shouldn't be assumed that the impact will necessarily be a negative one. After all, when money's tight, McDonald's is a value provider of low-cost meals.

McDonald's franchise model would be a poor choice for many popular fast-food providers, but it makes a lot of sense as long as it's within the company's means. McDonald's is a truly global establishment, with about 20% of locations company-owned; this allows for country- and culture-specific tailoring that is a huge contributor to the brand's worldwide success. Shares are down at the moment, but McDonald's is still the force to be reckoned with in fast food.

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