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(CNN Business) —  

Growth at McDonald’s missed some expectations in the third quarter, suggesting that the chain is feeling the heat from competitors who are getting aggressive on breakfast and plant-based menu items.

McDonald’s (MCD) shares dropped about 5% on the news Tuesday.

The company reported that sales at US restaurants open at least 13 months grew 4.8% in the third quarter, but Wall Street expected that figure to be closer to 5.2%, according to data from Refinitiv.

Sales growth was down from 5.7% in the second quarter, but up from the same period a year ago. In 2018, third-quarter sales rose just 2.4% at US restaurants open at least 13 months.

Internationally, the chain fared better, posting 5.9% sales growth at stores open at least 13 months and beating expectations. Total revenue for the quarter grew to $5.43 billion, up 1% from last year, while net income fell about 2%.

McDonald's sales growth missed expecations in the third quarter.
Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg/Getty Images
McDonald's sales growth missed expecations in the third quarter.

To improve growth, McDonald’s has been adding digital menu boards to stores, expanding delivery options and investing in AI tech for its drive-thrus, among other things.

Focusing on technology is a long-term g