The company's net income fell to $1.1 billion, or $1.13 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from $1.40 billion, or $1.40 per share, a year earlier.
Revenue decreased to $6.57 billion from $7.09 billion a year ago.
Wall Street forecast McDonald's would report earnings of $1.22 a share on $6.68 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.
U.S. same-store sales were off 1.7 percent in the quarter but turned positive to a rise of 0.4 percent in December. This was better than the 0.8 percent drop analysts had expected.
Amid low investor expectations, Citi analyst Gregory R Badishkanian noted, "In our opinion, the better than expected December SSS more than offset the 4Q EPS miss—the quarterly print on the whole should therefore be viewed as a modest positive."