UPDATE 4-New menu items help drive Burger King, Tim Hortons sales jump

Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:48pm EST
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(Updates with details on sales growth, McDonald's context, market reaction)

By Solarina Ho

TORONTO Feb 17 (Reuters) - Restaurant Brands International Inc, the parent of Burger King and Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons, reported robust quarterly sales growth on Tuesday, crediting new menu items for driving traffic.

Shares of the Oakville, Ontario-based company, which have soared more than 40 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange since being listed in December, jumped another 10.1 percent on Tuesday to C$53.14.

The stock rose even though the company, which opened nearly 900 new restaurants in 2014, posted a hefty quarterly loss on one-time merger-related costs.

U.S. chain Burger King bought Tim Hortons for C$12.64 billion ($10.21 billion) in August, creating the world's third-largest fast-food restaurant group. The two chains are managed as separate brands under the parent company.

Investors are keen to see if Tim's dominance in the Canadian coffee market can help chip away at McDonald's Corp's leadership in the U.S. quick-serve breakfast market.

Restaurant Brands executives credited new menu items like Burger King's A1 ultimate bacon cheeseburger and Tim Horton's dark roast blend coffee for helping drive sales gains in the quarter.

The results contrasted with those of McDonald's, which has been fighting to win back customers and reported one of its worst years in decades with eight straight months of global same-restaurant sales declines.   Continued...