Burger King's Pandemic Woes Eat Into Restaurant Brands Profit And Sales

By Dave Simpson
Burger King's Pandemic Woes Eat Into Restaurant Brands Profit And Sales

Restaurant Brands International Inc has missed quarterly profit estimates and recorded a drop in comparable sales at its Burger King and Popeyes chains as a resurgence in COVID-19 cases slowed customer traffic to its outlets.

The reinstatement of virus restrictions in many parts of the world led to temporary dining room closures and curfews, which kept people from venturing out to get their fast food fix and weakened the recovery process for a battered hospitality sector.

Burger King recorded a 7.9% fall in fourth quarter comparable sales, while analysts had forecast a minor gain.

Popeyes saw its comparable sales fall by 5.8% as the chain struggled to repeat the explosive initial growth of its social media favourite chicken sandwich, which was launched in the latter half of 2019.

Comparable sales at Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee chain that typically accounts for more than half of Restaurant Brands' revenue, slumped by 11% as fresh lockdowns disrupted consumers' normal routines and kept them from getting their morning Joe. However, the numbers were slightly better than analysts' expectations of an 11.7% drop.


"Breakfast remains significantly impacted at Tims Canada and Burger King US, especially in core urban areas," Restaurant Brands CEO Jose Cil said.

Restaurant Brands chief corporate officer Duncan Fulton told Reuters that he is optimistic the traffic at outlets will begin to improve as vaccines begin to roll out.

Earning Per Share And Total Revenue

Excluding items, the company earned 53 cents per share, compared with estimates of 65 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Total revenue in the reported quarter fell by 8.2% to $1.36 billion, but beat estimates of $1.33 billion.

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