In its first quarter as the owner of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Restaurant Brands International faced relatively flat sales growth as it plans the chicken brand’s global growth.
Comparable restaurant sales growth dropped by 0.1 percent at Burger King, 0.2 percent at Popeyes, and 0.1 percent at Tim Hortons in Q1 2017. RBI’s revenue increased by nearly 9 percent to more than $1 billion. Popeyes revenues were not included in the financials due to the timing of the transaction, and will be included in Q2.
At Burger King, overall system wide sales increased by 6.2 percent in the quarter, driven primarily by a 5.1 percent growth in unit count.
“In the U.S., (Burger King) remained focused on improving the quality of our product and innovating around our existing platforms, bringing impactful but operationally simple products to our guests,” RBI CEO Daniel Schwartz said in a conference call.
Burger King recently launched its improved crispy chicken sandwich and says it is performing well with guests. The brand also launched a Steakhouse King burger with two quarter-pound patties, bacon, A1 sauce, crispy onions, American cheese, and mayonnaise, and a Froot Loops shake that incorporates Froot Loops cereal pieces.
During the quarter, Popeyes increased restaurant count by 6 percent, and RBI executives remain confident in accelerating the growth of the brand—now in 25 countries—globally.
“We view chicken as a huge global category that’s very well developed around the world and one where we think the Popeyes Brand can be a much bigger player,” RBI CFO Josh Kobza said in the call. “We’ve seen that Popeyes already has a large global business. We’ve built out partnerships around the world in supply chain and operations, and we’ve seen that the brand and the product resonates really well with customers.”