Burger King sales jump, boosted by a spicy Whopper

AP News
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Posted: Apr 27, 2015 10:37 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — The home of the Whopper enjoyed its biggest sales jump in nearly a decade during the first quarter, boosted by a new flavor of its signature burger and a popular 2 for $5 promotion.

Burger King's sales rose 6.9 percent at established locations in the U.S. and Canada, parent company Restaurant Brands International said Monday. The company, which also owns Tim Hortons doughnut chain, declined to say whether the increase at Burger King was driven by higher average spending or an uptick in customer traffic, which is a key indicator of health.

Restaurant Brands International CEO Daniel Schwartz said in an interview there was no single factor that drove the improved sales in the U.S. Instead, he cited a variety of factors including a spicy BLT Whopper, marketing during the NCAA championships and healthy sales at breakfast.

"We said it in the past — there's no silver bullet," he said.

The showing comes as rival McDonald's has been fighting to hold onto customers, with sales at established locations falling 2.6 percent during the first three months of the year. Taco Bell, which is benefiting from the launch of a national breakfast menu, saw sales rise 6 percent during the period, according to parent company Yum Brands Inc.

On a global basis, same-store sales rose 4.6 percent at Burger King and 5.3 percent at Tim Hortons.

For the quarter, Restaurant Brands International Inc. reported adjusted earnings that beat analysts' expectations.

The Canadian company, which was formed in December through a combination of Tim Hortons Inc. and Burger King, reported a loss of $8.1 million, or 4 cents per share. But it had earnings of 18 cents per share after adjusting for certain costs.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected profit of 15 cents per share.

Revenue rose slightly to $932 million. Analysts polled by FactSet expected $944.7 million.

The results were subdued by a strong U.S. dollar and the company said it would have seen 9.6 percent growth without currency swings.

Shares of Restaurant Brands were up 3.6 percent at $43.07.