McDonald's has today reported a quarterly profit that missed Wall Street estimates for the first time in two years as it invested heavily in sprucing up US outlets and speeding up delivery. 

The company has been battling competition in the US, especially in the past few quarters, from rival fast-food chains that are challenging McDonald's dominance with value meals and plant-based food options. 

McDonald's was late to the game in offering plant-based burgers, behind rivals Restaurant Brands' Burger King and Yum Brands' KFC. 

In a bid to reverse declining customer traffic and tackle competition, McDonald's has been remodeling its 14,000 US restaurants to include digital ordering kiosks, mobile ordering as well as pay and pickup services.

It has also been spending heavily on delivery by partnering with app-based delivery services GrubHub, Uber Eats and DoorDash.  

Sales at US restaurants open for at least 13 months rose 4.8% in the third quarter ended September 30, below the 5.17% growth expected by analysts, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. 

Globally, McDonald's reported better-than-expected comparable sales growth of 5.9%, driven by strong growth in markets such as the UK and France. 

It said its net income fell 2% to $1.61 billion, in the quarter from $1.64 billion, a year earlier. 

On a per share basis, the company earned $2.11 per share - missing expectations of $2.21.

Total revenue, including both US and overseas operations, rose to $5.43 billion, slightly below analysts' expectations of $5.49 billion.

Meanwhile, McDonalds said that its home delivery service, McDelivery, is now available in 41 restaurants across Ireland and accounts for just over 5% of sales in those restaurants. 

Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald's UK & Ireland,

McDonalds said it saw a record day for Irish deliveries on September 19 when over 2,000 orders were placed by its customers.

Paul Pomroy, CEO, McDonald's UK & Ireland, said that the company's Spicy McNuggets and Double Quarter Pounder with cheese drove particularly strong performance with consumers in Ireland in the third quarter.

He noted that almost 2 million individual Spicy McNuggets have been sold since their launch here in August.

"We are entering the festive period with momentum behind us. As we end 2019 and enter a new decade, I am confident that our customer-led and people-focussed approach will see us enjoy continued success," Mr Pomroy added.