After a greater number of McDonald’s stores stayed open on Thanksgiving, resulting in an estimated $36 million additional sales this year, an internal memo from the company is urging franchisees to remain open on Christmas. According to an analysis in Advertising Age, that one day accounted for almost one percentage point of their 2.5-percent increase in sale growth for the month of November:
Opening on holidays didn’t happen much in the company’s Christmases past. Richard Adams, a consultant and former McDonald’s franchisee, said that “Thanksgiving was never open. Then 15 to 16 years ago, some started staying open.” As recently as five or six years ago, “you would never even talk about being open on Christmas, even if some were open on Thanksgiving. For the franchisees, this is a big cultural shift.”
Contrast this approach with a company like Chick-fil-A, which is closed on two holidays, Christmas and Thanksgiving, as well as Sundays. Two different ways to serve their customers: one by remaining open, and therefore retaining extra sales, and the other by respecting a holiday that many of their customers celebrate. Time will tell if either strategy is more successful.