Ronald McDonald almost forgot what it’s like to have indigestion — until now.

After roaring through years of the economic downturn while most other fast-food chains faltered, McDonald’s on Thursday reported a 1.8% global comparable sales drop for the month of October, marking the first time a monthly decline has hit the company since March 2003 — when George Bush was president. The decline was felt not just in the U.S. and Europe, where sales fell 2.2%, but also in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

For McDonald’s, the new reality of the tough global economic environment is hitting home just months after new CEO Don Thompson took the helm. Beyond the economic challenges worldwide, McDonald’s also faces increased competition domestically from Wendy’s, Burger King and others.