Burger King hikes profit but warns on jobs

BURGER King reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit as it kept a tight rein on expenses yesterday.

Yet the fast-food chain, which counts the infamous Whopper beefburger among its products, said business would remain under pressure in the new year because of lingering unemployment and government austerity programmes in several European countries.

Burger King is more vulnerable to a weak job market than rivals McDonald’s and Wendy’s because a larger share of its customers are young males, a group that has suffered massive job losses in industries like construction and manufacturing.

“As we enter fiscal 2011, we anticipate that the challenging consumer environment will continue,” said chief executive John Chidsey.

Burger King is attempting to increase its target market by appealing to a higher class of customer where it can, introducing stand-alone “Whopper Bars” in the US which serve premium items.