McDonald’s is going to line the German Autobahn with more than 100 new restaurants

More Golden Arches are coming to that long stretch of German highway.
More Golden Arches are coming to that long stretch of German highway.
Image: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
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This post has been updated.

It was another disappointing quarter for McDonald’s. Global sales at restaurants open at least 13 months fell 0.7%; in the US, they fell 2%. Both were worse than expected.

But sales in Europe were up 1.2%, largely thanks to Germany and UK. In Germany, the company posted its first quarter of same-store sales growth since mid-2012. And it now has plans to capitalize on that enthusiasm by adding more than 100 new restaurants to the country’s 11,000 km (6,800 miles) Autobahn highway system, at Autobahn Tank & Rast fuel and service stations.

The first restaurants will open this year, but the majority are coming between 2016 and 2019.

“This agreement gives us the opportunity to develop more than 100 new sites in fuel and service stations across the lucrative motorway service station network in Germany with no capital investment required by McDonald’s,” McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said in a call to update analysts on the company’s financial results.

Later in the call Easterbrook referred to the deal as a sign of more good things to come. “That’s what happens when a brand and a market gets its mojo back. You sort of attract the sort of partners you want to be doing business with.”

The new locations may replace current Burger King restaurants, German newspaper Die Welt reported, and McDonald’s confirmed that this will be true in some cases. Burger King did not immediately respond to request for comment.

McDonald’s currently has only 12 restaurants at service stations on Germany’s highways, while Tank & Rast’s 350 gas stations and 390 service stations serve approximately 500 million guests each year. Whether or not the deal has the implications Easterbrook says it does is an open question, but combined with the company’s positive sales trend there, it looks like the Germans have forgiven the chain for nixing their €1 cheeseburger last year.

Update: This post was updated with confirmation from McDonald’s that some of its new restaurants will be replacing Burger King locations.