Hit Sandwiches Boost U.S. Restaurant Sales

The response to changing consumer tastes helped Burger King and Popeyes exceed sales expectations.

Impossible Whopper

Burger King reported its best comparable stores sales increase in the U.S. in four years thanks to brisk sales of Impossible Whopper. Burger King's parent company, Restaurant Brands International Inc., began selling the plant-based burger in late summer after a strong response to limited testing. The popularity of the burger helped push U.S. same-store sales up five percent.

The Toronto company also owns the Popeye's chain of chicken restaurants, which had its own hit sandwich during the quarter. On Monday, after numerous restaurants sold out of the popular chicken sandwich over the summer, the chain said it's bringing the sandwich back to restaurants on Sunday. Popeye's had comparable sales growth of more than 10 percent in the U.S., among its best quarters in two decades.

The strong performances from Burger King and Popeye's, however, were not enough to offset a disappointing quarter for another of the Toronto company's restaurants, Tim Horton's, which reported a 1.4 percent decline in comparable sales. Shares slid more than three Monday.

Restaurant Brands earned $201 million, or 75 cents per share, for the period ended September 30. That compares with $134 million, or 53 cents per share, a year earlier. Stripping out one-time items, earnings were 72 cents per share. That's in line with the expectations of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue totaled $1.46 billion in the period, also meeting Wall Street expectations.