Shares of Burger King's parent fall after earnings miss

Key Points
  • Restaurant Brands International reports adjusted earnings of 55 cents per share, falling short of estimates of 58 cents per share.
  • Burger King's parent company also reports sales of $1.27 billion, topping expectations of $1.26 billion.
Travelers order food in automated self-ordering kiosk at fast-food Burger King restaurant chain.
Bundrul Chukrut | LightRocket | Getty Images

Restaurant Brands International on Monday reported quarterly earnings that fell short of analysts' expectations as Tim Hortons' struggles continue.

Shares of the company were down more than 2% in afternoon trading. The stock, which has a market value of $29.9 billion, is up 23% this year, outpacing its competition. Shares of fast food rival Yum Brands, which has a market value of $31.7 billion, has only risen 12% in 2019. Meanwhile, McDonald's stock, whose market value is roughly 5 times Restaurant Brands', is up 10% this year.

"Overall, we are confident in the long-term growth prospects for each of our three iconic brands, and remain focused on providing a great guest experience while driving franchisee profitability," CEO Jose Cil said in statement.

Here's what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: 55 cents, adjusted, vs. 58 cents expected
  • Revenue: $1.27 billion vs. $1.26 billion expected

Burger King's parent company reported fiscal first-quarter net income of $246 million, or 53 cents per share, down from $278.6 million, or 59 cents per share, a year earlier. The company attributed the decline to higher expenses from taxes.

Excluding costs from acquiring Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the relocation of its support centers and other unique expenses, Restaurant Brands earned 55 cents per share, missing the 58 cents per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Net sales rose 1% to $1.27 billion, beating expectations of $1.26 billion. Restaurant Brands said currency fluctuations drove the change in revenue.

Burger King and Popeyes reported same-store sales growth that beat estimates, but Tim Hortons came up short. Popeyes reported same-store sales growth of 0.6%, beating estimates of 0.1%. The fried chicken chain's delivery helped boost sales this quarter. Cil told analysts on the quarterly conference call that delivery orders drive incremental sales and lead to higher average check.

Burger King, the company's biggest chain, saw same-store sales increase by 2.2%, topping Wall Street's expectations of 1.8%. Its Grilled Chicken Sandwich launch fell flat, but price hikes on its nuggets and the reintroduction of its spicy chicken nuggets helped sales. While breakfast sales slipped during the quarter, they could rebound during the second quarter with the launch of BK Cafe in March, including a $5 monthly coffee subscription.

The burger chain also announced Monday that it plans to roll out its Impossible Whopper, made with the bleeding plant-based patties, nationwide by the end of 2019. The company said that results of its St. Louis test found that Impossible Whopper sales complemented sales of the traditional Whopper.

Sales at Tim Hortons open at least a year fell 0.6%, but analysts were expecting same-store sales growth of 2%. Executives said that severe weather across Canada hurt same-store sales growth by 1%. Executives also said that additional investment in its Roll up the Rim sweepstakes did not drive as much engagement as expected. Last month, a little over a week before the quarter ended, Tim Hortons launched its first loyalty program, which rewards members after every seventh visit. In the five weeks since its launch, 20% of Canada's population has signed up for the program.

Tim Hortons accounts for nearly 60% of the company's total sales but growth of the Canadian coffee chain is slowing in its home market. So Restaurant Brands is trying to push into the rapidly expanding Chinese market with its first three stores there and plans to open 1,500 across China in the next decade.

"We're very pleased with the initial performance," Cil said.

Restaurant Brands will hold its first investor day May 15 in New York.

Correction: An earlier version misstated Restaurant Brands' market value. It is $29.9 billion.