Burger King owner dishes up profit beat as new products boost traffic

(Reuters) - Restaurant Brands International Inc's QSR.TOQSR.N quarterly profit beat expectations on Friday, as product launches including the plant-based Impossible Whopper drew diners to Burger King, and its investments abroad paid off.

Restaurant Brands shares, which have risen 42% this year, were up as much as 4.2% at a record high of C$100.35.

Fast-food chains in North America are exploring ways to add faux meat offerings to their menu, as more customers switch to vegan diets. Burger King was one of the first publicly listed burger chains to join the vegan bandwagon.

The burger maker, known for its Whopper burgers, and plant-based burger maker Impossible Foods in April started selling their vegan burger Impossible Whopper in 59 stores in and around St. Louis, Missouri, with nationwide sales expected by this month.

“The August launch of the Impossible Burger will give bulls reason to stay constructive,” Bernstein analysts said in a note on Friday.

Restaurant Brands, which also owns coffee-and-donut chain Tim Hortons and fast-food restaurant chain Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, said Burger King was seeing strength outside of the United States, particularly in China, India, Brazil and Spain.

Tim Hortons also serves breakfast sandwiches made with faux-meat burger maker Beyond Meat Inc's BYND.O Beyond Sausage in Canada.

Tim Hortons is set to enter Thailand, its third market in Asia, while Restaurant Brands is also expanding its fast-food restaurant chain Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen into Spain.

Restaurant Brands, which has over 26,000 restaurants globally, said here in May it plans to expand all three of its brands to more than 40,000 restaurants globally in the next eight to ten years, making it one of the largest restaurant companies in the world.

Comparable sales at Burger King, the largest business of Restaurant Brands, rose 3.6% in the second quarter. Sales at Tim Hortons and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen increased 0.5% and 3%.

The company’s net income fell 18% to $257 million in the quarter ended June 30.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 71 cents per share, while analysts on average had estimated 65 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Revenue rose 4.2% to $1.4 billion.

Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel