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Burger King, Tim Hortons Sales Power Earnings Beat For Parent Restaurant Brands

By Dave Simpson

Restaurant Brands International Inc QSR.N,QSR.TO has beaten estimates for quarterly results, boosted by higher prices and strong demand at its Burger King and Tim Hortons chains.

Details

Comparable sales at the two brands jumped, as they invested in fresh advertising campaigns, and as more people returned to restaurants while continuing to place orders for delivery and carry out.

Shares, however, fell over 2% amid broader weakness in the restaurant industry, signalling that the upbeat report did little to alleviate investors' concerns around labor and inflation pressures.

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Costs for labour and commodities have spiraled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and war in Ukraineforcing most restaurantto shield profits by raising menu prices.

Toronto, Ontario-based Restaurant Brands, which often caters to lower-income consumers, has hiked US prices approximately 7 or 8% over the year, in line with broader inflation, chief executive officer Jose Cil told Reuters in an interview.

The increases helped the company cushion a hit from a 3% decline in comparable sales at its Popeyes chain. The brand is facing staffing shortages and competition from rivals launching fried chicken sandwiches similar to the one it popularized with its 2019 rollout.

The price of a Popeyes' crispy chicken sandwich at one New York City location jumped nearly 13% to $4.49 in late March, according to a Reuters review. It had been $3.99 since launch.

Even so, US consumers pressured by higher gas and grocery prices have not started trading down to cheaper or fewer items or otherwise changing their behavior, Cil said.

"We're well positioned to be stable if not grow in the most difficult of environments," he said.

The company's total revenue rose 15% to $1.45 billion in the first quarter ended March 31, topping Refinitiv estimates of $1.39 billion.

Comparable sales at Tim Hortons in Canada rose 10.1%, while Burger King global same-store sales jumped 10.3%, both beating analyst estimates.

The company took a $12 million hit - or 2.6% of its adjusted earnings - from Russia, where it suspended corporate support for its 820 franchised Burger King locations after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

On 17 March, Restaurant Brands that said it was trying to dispose of its 15% stake in the joint venture that operates those restaurants.

However, there has been "no substantive progress since then," chief corporate officer Duncan Fulton told Reuters.

Earning Per Share

On an adjusted basis, Restaurant Brands earned 64 cents per share, also above estimates of 61 cents.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
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