Restaurants

Restaurant Brands' Popeyes sales surge, while Tim Hortons misses estimates

Key Points
  • Restaurant Brands said comparable sales at its Popeyes fast-food chain surged 26.2%, surpassing Wall Street expectations.
  • Results were powered by demand for its popular chicken sandwiches.
  • Stay-at-home orders due to the Covid-19 pandemic dented sales of breakfast and coffee at Tim Hortons chains, where comparable sales fell 10.3%.
Popeyes Chicken Sandwich
Source: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Restaurant Brands posted an over 26% jump in first-quarter comparable sales at Popeyes on Friday, but it said that sales at its breakfast and coffee chain Tim Hortons were hit due to coronavirus-led restrictions.

The company, however, warned of a more significant impact from the pandemic on its current- quarter results and said it was unclear when its restaurants will return to normal operations.

Restaurants have been relying largely on take-out, delivery, and drive-thru sales as they had to close dine-in operations following lockdowns in many countries to curb the spread of the virus.

Tim Hortons was the worst hit as lockdowns forced consumers to make their own coffee and breakfasts, dragging comparable sales down by 10.3%. The Canadian food chain, however, launched a mobile app to take orders as well as facilitate curbside pickup at some of its restaurants during the crisis.

Comparable sales decreased in the mid-forties on a percentage basis during the last two weeks of March, but daily comparable sales were now down in the negative high thirties on a percentage basis in end of April, the company said.

At Popeyes, the health crisis in March impacted sales, and were about flat in the last two weeks of the month.

Same-store sales fell 3.7% at Burger King.

Overall, total revenue fell 3% to $1.23 billion for the first quarter ended March 31.

Analysts were expecting comparable sales rise of 17.47% for Popeyes and a fall of 9.24% for Tim Hortons, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net income attributable to the company's shareholders rose to $144 million, or 48 cents per share, from $135 million, or 53 cents per share, a year earlier.