By Liz Moyer — McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) enters 2023 on a high note, with a renewed focus on its core products and building its capabilities in digital services, drive-thru and delivery, which makes it a top pick in the restaurant category, according to Oppenheimer analysts.

The research firm predicts healthy same-store sales when the fast-food giant releases results next week. It also forecast better-than-expected earnings per share for the quarter, estimated at $2.54 per share, which is above Wall Street’s average estimate of $2.45.

“The company’s unparalleled scale and operational resilience has created strong global momentum, particularly in the United States, where traffic is positive,” the analysts wrote in a note. “We believe MCD is well positioned to win regardless of the economic situation.”

They noted that during the 2008-2009 recession, McDonald’s was the only public catering company to post positive earnings revisions throughout the recession.

Shares of McDonald’s rose 0.5% on Wednesday and are up 2.7% for this year and 8% over the past 12 months. Oppenheimer rates the stock as an outperformer with a price target of $304, implying a 12% upside from current trading levels.

McDonald’s latest strategy, which it calls “Accelerating the Arches 2.0”, focuses on marketing, core products and emphasizes delivery, digital, drive-thru and development, including including ways to improve its classic menu selections such as the Big Mac and Chicken McNugget.

The strategy “represents an underappreciated catalyst for increasing unit growth and improving operating margins,” Oppenheimer wrote in a note Wednesday.

For the fourth quarter, Oppenheimer forecasts an 8.5% jump in same-store sales, versus a Street consensus of 8.1%.

The company is also modeling earnings for 2023 above the Street consensus at $10.73 per share versus analysts’ average estimate of $10.59 per share.

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