Burger King profit beats as franchising slashes costs
(Reuters) - Burger King Worldwide Inc BKW.N reported a better-than-expected third-quarter profit as it slashed costs by franchising more outlets and sales grew outside North America.
The third-largest U.S. hamburger chain, behind McDonald's Corp MCD.N and Wendy's Co WEN.O, said expenses fell about 90 percent, mainly because it refranchised more than 500 restaurants in the past year.
With almost all of its restaurants now franchised, total sales fell about 40 percent to $275.1 million.
Burger King shares, which have rise about 24 percent this year, rose 3 percent to $20.32 in premarket trading on Monday.
Global sales at established restaurants rose 0.9 percent in the quarter ended September 30, well short of the average analyst estimate of 1.9 percent.
Same-restaurant sales in United States and Canada, where the company last month introduced lower-fat "Satisfries" french fries to offer healthier alternatives, fell 0.3 percent.
Burger King's same-store sales growth matched that of McDonald's Corp MCD.N, which reported last week and warned that global sales would be relatively flat in October because of stiff competition and a weak economic recovery.
Burger King reported a 2.4 percent rise in sales in its Europe, Middle East and Africa business, helped by cheaper prices and online coupons in Germany and Spain.
In Asia Pacific, sales rose 3.7 percent. Continued...