McDonald's Corp announced on Wednesday that higher menu prices and celebrity-themed meals helped raise quarterly comparable sales, but the firm struggled to maintain stores running at full capacity owing to labor shortages and COVID-19 outbreaks.

According to Refinitiv IBES data, same-store sales in the United States increased 9.6% in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared to estimates of 8.27%.

As overseas markets progressively recovered from the pandemic, global comparable sales increased 12.7% in the quarter, compared to estimates of 10.31%.

In an earnings call, Chief Executive Chris Kempczinski indicated that the staffing scarcity in the United States forced some locations to close early and decrease service speed, but that the issues are not "unsolvable."McDonald's Latest Celeb Meal Gets Backlash From Customers

Because they are in areas with high incidence of COVID-19, seating areas in about 20% of McDonald's American sites - roughly 3,000 eateries - are also closed.

Despite this, additional pandemic-related restrictions have been lifted, attracting more customers to restaurants. McDonald's crispy chicken sandwich and its most recent celebrity collaboration with rapper Saweetie also helped improve sales.

To assist offset increased product and labor expenses, the Chicago-based firm has hiked pricing in the United States by nearly 6% compared to 2020. Most restaurant chains, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, are raising menu prices to defend their margins from rising labor and beef and chicken costs.

On a two-year basis, McDonald's expects current-quarter comparable sales in the United States to climb in the low double digits.

The fast-food giant, which has been trying to increase digital sales, has introduced a new loyalty program in the United States and increased its advertising budget.

As coronavirus-related restrictions lifted, most of the company's overseas markets, including the UK, Canada, and Japan, returned to sales growth, but sales in Australia and China remained hampered by the reappearance of COVID-19 cases.

Net income increased by 22% to $2.15 billion, with adjusted earnings of $2.76 per share, exceeding projections of $2.46 per share.