Burger King faces Q2 slowdown

by Monica Watrous
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Burger King Mac n' Cheetos
Mac n’ Cheetos became one of Burger King's most buzzworthy launches in history.
 

OAKVILLE, Ontario — Like many of its quick-service restaurant competitors, the parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons faced a slowdown in business during the recent quarter.

Net income attributable to common shareholders of Restaurant Brands International Inc. in the second quarter ended June 30 was $90.9 million, equal to 39 cents per share on the common stock, up from $11 million, or 5 cents per share, in the prior-year period, which included a one-time charge related to the merger. Adjusted EBITDA increased 16 percent on an organic basis to $479.1 million from $427.8 million, driven by cost savings and growth across both brands.

Total revenues declined to $1,040.2 million from $1,042.2 million as a result of unfavorable foreign exchange movements.

Daniel Schwartz, Restaurant Brands International Inc.
Daniel Schwartz, CEO, Restaurant Brands International Inc.

“We did see some softness in the industry in the second quarter,” said Daniel Schwartz, CEO, during an Aug. 4 earnings call with financial analysts. “We feel like we made the right adjustments, kind of short term. But we have been doing this now almost six years, and the industry changes from time to time. We try not to get too focused on macroeconomic changes. The industry’s moved over time.”

Comparable sales grew 2.7 percent at Tim Hortons and 0.6 percent at Burger King in constant currency during the quarter, benefitting from new menu innovation and promotions.

Burger King Chicken Fries Rings and the Whopper Dog
During the quarter, Burger King offered new premium products such as Chicken Fries Rings and the Whopper Dog.
 

“We have some good offers like our two for $10 Whopper meal offer (at Burger King),” Schwartz said. “We had some good full price or premium products like the Chicken Fry Rings, the Mac n’ Cheetos, some limited time offerings around our Grilled Dogs. So I wouldn’t really point to anything that kind of worked or didn’t work, per se. We did see things slow down a little bit. But the same strategy that we’ve had in place for the past five years is going to continue regardless of if things slow down or accelerate within a quarter.”

Mac n’ Cheetos, a limited-time snack offering at Burger King, became one of the chain’s most buzzworthy launches in history, “with 3.2 billion earned impressions, surpassing the previous record set by our launch of Grilled Dogs this past spring,” Schwartz said.

“While our sales results were slower for the quarter, we’re very confident that we have the right strategy in place to grow the US business for the long run,” he added.

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