The reenergized effort comes as Burger King’s same-store sales lifted 0.7 percent in Q1, or a decline of 3 percent on a two-year basis. Digital mixed 9 percent, an increase of 40 percent, year-over-year.
In the U.S., the launch of the $1 Your Way value menu resulted in nominal monthly sales per restaurant reaching their highest level in recent history. This drove improvement in visitation year-over-year in March compared to the industry. The new menu closed a gap on value and helped Burger King catch up on sales in March. As for growing average check, the burger chain is laser-focused on menu innovation. For example, the Sourdough King sandwich and Cheesy Tots returned in Q1 and achieved record-high AUVs.
But the main event in terms of product news was the rollout of Burger King’s hand-breaded chicken sandwich, which is now at half of restaurants in the U.S. It will be available nationwide in the summer. Burger King believes the sandwich will drive visits and check, prove incremental, and pave the way for future innovation.
“It’s a balance approach, and you’ve heard me say that multiple times over the years—the importance of Burger King in particular having a balanced approach,” Cil said. “Obviously driving our core, but having a balance with premium offerings as well as value. The quarter was encouraging in every regard.”
Tim Hortons Bets on Digital and Innovation
Tim Hortons continues to serve as RBI’s true digital muscle, with the channel mixing more than 30 percent in Q1—nearly doubling year-over-year. It’s the largest quarter of digital sales yet among any of RBI's brands.
The biggest impact came from the redesigned “Roll Up the Rim” contest, which led to an incremental two million app downloads in March. It’s twice the amount Tim Hortons saw last year during the contest and significantly higher than a typical month. Engagement on the app hit an all-time high, with digital mixing more than 40 percent during the peak of the contest, and more than 50 percent of transactions coming via the loyalty program.
“Our digital performance at Tims in Q1 gives us a picture of a brighter digital future in Canada as well as what we want to achieve at Burger King and Popeyes,” Cil said.
Tim Hortons comp sales dropped 2.3 percent in Q1, or a 12.6 percent decline on a two-year stack. The restaurant’s recovery has been stifled by higher restrictions across Canada. In Ontario, where nearly 40 percent of Canadians live and nearly 50 percent of Tim Hortons are located, individuals are under mandatory stay-at-home orders until at least May 20. The closure of dining rooms has pushed Tim Hortons’ drive-thru sales up 23 percent compared to last year. In spots where Canadians are able to have more normal routines, sales trends prove they’re coming back to Tim Hortons. Comps in rural and suburban areas were flat to slightly positive in the first quarter.