Pedestrians walk past a McDonald’s Corp. restaurant in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.

Noriko Hayashi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

McDonald’s has canceled its in-person biennial convention for its worldwide franchisees due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The four-day event, scheduled for April, was supposed to take place in Orlando, Florida. It will now occur virtually.

CFO Kevin Ozan told analysts on the earnings call in January that the convention typically costs between $25 million to $30 million. It is unclear how much McDonald’s might save by canceling the in-person convention. In 2019, the company’s sales surpassed $100 billion.

CEO Chris Kempczinski asked managing directors and franchisee leadership for their opinions on the matter last week. 

“Based on their feedback, extensive global travel restrictions, input from the World Health Organization and other local and global health ministries, and our assessment of the situation, I’ve made the difficult but I think right decision to cancel our in-person Worldwide Convention in Orlando in favor of a digital Worldwide Convention,” Kempczinski wrote in a memo to employees.

Other companies, including Starbucks, Target and Google, have made the decision to cancel conferences and investor events as the number of U.S. COVID-19 cases rises. The slowdown in lucrative business travel is hurting the airline and hotel industry. Airlines have been racing to cut costs and cancel flights. 

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