Profits rise for Burger King as costs drop 90pc

ER K

ER King Worldwide, known for its Whopper hamburgers, yesterday said it plans to introduce fewer seasonal and limited-time menu items in a bid to help restaurant operators improve profits and speed up service.

Burger King, which reported a better-than expected third-quarter profit, has recently added a string of attention-getting products ranging from bacon sundaes and a summer BBQ menu to low-fat Satisfries french fries, which have become a permanent menu item.

Shares in the fast-food chain jumped over five per cent in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange after the profit report, helped by lower costs from selling restaurants to franchisees.

The third-largest US hamburger chain, behind McDonald’s and Wendy’s, said expenses fell about 90 per cent, mainly because it sold more than 500 restaurants in the last year to franchisees.

Sales at established restaurants were up 3.7 per cent for the Asia Pacific region including China, where rivals McDonald’s and KFC parent Yum Brands have seen sales soften.

But Burger King said same-restaurant sales in US and Canada fell 0.3 per cent due to continued weakness in consumer spending and intense pricing competition among fast-food chains.

Burger King also reported a softer-than-expected 2.4 per cent rise in sales in its Europe, Middle East and Africa business.

Net income grew to $68.2m, or 19 cents per share, from $6.6m, or two cents per share, a year earlier, when it owned and operated hundreds more restaurants.

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