UPDATE 2-Burger King steers away from special menus as profit beats

Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:57am EDT
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Oct 28 (Reuters) - Burger King Worldwide Inc, known for its Whopper hamburgers, on Monday said it plans to introduce fewer seasonal and limited-time menu items in a bid to help restaurant operators improve profits and speed up service.

Burger King, which reported a better-than expected third-quarter profit, has recently added a string of attention-getting products ranging from bacon sundaes and a summer BBQ menu to low-fat "Satisfries" french fries, which have become a permanent menu item.

The company is now "focused on introducing fewer, more impactful products. A good example of this is the recent launch of Satisfries," Chief Executive Daniel Schwartz said on a conference call with analysts.

Shares in the fast-food chain jumped 5.6 percent to $20.87 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange after the profit report, helped by lower costs from selling restaurants to franchisees.

The third-largest U.S. hamburger chain, behind McDonald's Corp and Wendy's Co, said expenses fell about 90 percent, mainly because it sold more than 500 restaurants in the last year to franchisees.

Sales at established restaurants were up 3.7 percent for the Asia Pacific region including China, where rivals McDonald's and KFC parent Yum Brands Inc have seen sales soften. Analysts had expected growth of 2.7 percent for that region, according to Consensus Metrix.

That result was offset by weakness in other parts of the world.

Burger King said same-restaurant sales in United States and Canada fell 0.3 percent due to continued weakness in consumer spending and intense pricing competition among fast-food chains. Analysts had expected a rise of 0.8 percent.   Continued...