The 'kitchen-sink quarter' at McDonald's: Analyst

McDonald's had a 'lousy' quarter: Analyst

McDonald's reported quarterly earnings that fell short of analysts' expectations on Wednesday, as it fights to recover from food scandals in China and Japan, and faces tough competition at home in the United States.

After the earnings announcement, the company's shares rose in premarket trading. (Get the latest quote here.)

In its first quarterly results under its new Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook, McDonald's global comparable sales at restaurants open at least 13 months fell 2.3 percent.

"I don't think the expectations were very high for this quarter," R.J. Hottovy, senior restaurant analyst at Morningstar, told CNBC, shortly after the earnings announcement. "It was something of a kitchen-sink quarter" of bad news.

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The fast-food giant posted first-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.01 per share, down from $1.21 a share in the year-earlier period. The results included strategic charges of 17 cents a share and a negative foreign currency impact of 9 cents per share.

McDonald's results better than expected

Revenue fell to $5.96 billion from $6.7 billion.

Wall Street forecast McDonald's would deliver earnings per share of $1.06 and $5.96 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Net income fell 32.6 percent to $811.5 million, or 84 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $1.20 billion, or $1.21 per share, a year earlier.

"The results show it's not going to be an overnight turnaround story. There are a lot of moving parts. There's a lot of significant investment [that] needs to be made," Hottovy said.

In the press release from McDonald's, Easterbook is quoted as saying he looks forward to "sharing the initial details" of his turnaround plan on May 4.

"There's a sense of optimism surrounding Steve [Easterbook] right now," Hottovy said, "[and] the way he's positioned himself to explore all options to enhance shareholder value."

McDonald's has fought to improve its perception among consumers and also introduce items aimed at competing in a restaurant space where fast-casual chains have taken more share.

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Same restaurant sales were expected to tick down 1.8 percent during the quarter, according to Consensus Metrix. Analysts expected sales at its Asia, Pacific, Middle East & Africa unit to perform even worse and drop 6.5 percent.

The company has seen continued fallout in China and Japan after one of its suppliers became the center of a food safety scandal in mid-July.

CNBC's Katie Little and Terri Cullen, and Reuters contributed to this report.