Burger King: A Defensive Play?

The economic slowdown may be causing some consumers to forfeit dining out or to “trade down” and eat at fast-food restaurants. Burger King CEO John Chidsey says his company is benefiting from this trend.

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"We have the luxury in the fast-food industry of the quick-service restaurant space of being the most inelastic, so we certainly see people trading down,” says Chidsey.

“You look at the stocks and the traffic reports that have been put out by the fast-casual companies like an Applebee's, like a Chili's, they're certainly suffering -- and we talked about the year we just completed on June 30 was our best traffic year in 10 years."

Burger King -- holding the No. 2 industry slot after market leader McDonald's -- operates more than 11,200 restaurants in all 50 states and 69 countries and U.S. territories worldwide. Approximately 90 percent of Burger King restaurants are owned and operated by independent franchisees. The company was founded in 1954 and is headquartered in Miami, Fla.