Burger King Profit Gets a Boost from New Menu

Burger King Holdingsreported higher-than-expected quarterly profit Monday, helped by new chicken sandwiches on its menu and marketing promotions featuring the Simpsons and Transformers.

The world's No. 2 hamburger chain behind McDonald's said net income rose 23 percent to $49 million, or 35 cents per share, in its fiscal first quarter that ended Sept. 30, from $40 million, or 30 cents per share, a year ago.

Analysts on average had been expecting 34 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Total revenue for the quarter rose 10 percent to $602 million. Same-store sales, a key industry measure that tracks sales at restaurants open at least 12 months, rose 6.6 percent in the United States and Canada and 5.9 percent worldwide.

Restaurant margins in the United States and Canada, which measure the profitability of individual outlets, rose 50 basis points, as higher same-store sales offset higher commodity costs.

Miami-based Burger King said its tie-in with The Simpsons Movie drove sales of its Ultimate Double Whopper sandwich, while continued promotion of its BK Breakfast Value Menu helped drive sales in the morning, a time of day that has been dominated by McDonald's.

It has also extended hours at some locations to drive sales late at night.

In the last year, Burger King increased its net restaurant count by 146, bringing its total number of restaurants to 11,290 as of Sept. 30.

The company said for the first time in six years it expects net restaurant growth in fiscal 2008.