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Wall Street is loving the McDonald's transformation

  • Shares of McDonald's increased nearly 5 percent on Tuesday, bringing the total increase for the year up to 31 percent.
  • The company has turned around its business after years of struggles.
  • Barclays analyst Jeff Bernstein said the momentum should continue as the burger chain focuses on its mobile efforts.
A McDonald's crew member prepares french fries in Miami, Florida.
Getty Images
A McDonald's crew member prepares french fries in Miami, Florida.

McDonald's earnings beat estimates, and Wall Street is loving it.

The fast food chain's stock hit an all-time high after it reported earnings, up 5 percent on the day. Shares are up 31 percent on the year, a stark improvement from bleak outlooks McDonald's faced the past few years.

Barclays analyst Jeff Bernstein expects the turnaround to continue.

"I think McDonald's has a history to demonstrate they are a powerful brand," Bernstein said on CNBC's "Power Lunch." "Prior to the past few years, they dominated for pretty much the past decade. After a couple of challenging years, we have some new leadership in place."

The restaurant chain's decision to offer all-day breakfast kicked off its transformation, Bernstein said. The company's digital efforts, such as mobile ordering, delivery and pay, will keep the momentum alive, he said.

"On the margin, each of these initiatives is probably a small component. But when you put together the whole mosaic of three or four initiatives running simultaneous, coupled with the easy compares and the momentum they've had coming in, it's a powerful combination," Bernstein said.

McDonald's reported its strongest traffic in "awhile" this quarter, Bernstein said. The chain has double the number of restaurants as Wendy's and Burger King, and each McDonald's restaurant does more than double the volume as its competitors' locations, Bernstein said.

"So the proof is in the pudding from that perspective," he said. "They are capturing that incremental share, and their advertising budget, because they have so many stores and so much in sales, it's all a percentage of that. So they're on TV many multiples of the times as everybody else, and that's driving the traffic."