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Popeyes chicken sandwich craze fuels stock surge

By Lawrence Gash

Parent company reports stellar Q4 profits

Restaurant Brands International (QSR), the owner of the likes of Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes has reported fourth-quarter earnings of 75 cents per share, vastly exceeding analyst predictions of 2 cents per share.

The Popeyes chicken sandwich craze of recent months largely contributed to this stellar performance. The product debuted in August, and ran out after only two weeks with some customers fighting to get their hands on the sandwich. Eventually following popular demand and a well-publicised rivalry with competitor Chick Fil A, it was brought back as a permanent option in November.

Restaurant Brands International chief executive Jose Cil admitted that the sandwich “has proven to be a game changer for the brand in every way,” adding that he had “never seen the kind of guest response for a single product launch like the one we had for our Popeyes Chicken Sandwich.”

Popeyes’ same-store sales grew 34 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019 helping its full year sales grow to 18 per cent.

RBI has set out to expand Popeyes throughout the US and China after acquiring the brand in 2017. Cil stated: “In the coming years, we see a huge opportunity for Popeyes to grow from a brand with cult status into a true mainstream player in the US, all while maintaining its unique Louisiana heritage.”

Popeyes’ success coupled with Burger King’s 9.3 per cent sales increase has helped RBI’s share price to gain more than 22 per cent in the past year. Although the company has recognised that its third key brand Tim Hortons is struggling in its native Canada and the threats posed by the coronavirus epidemic on business in China, it continues to eye further growth.

After just over one hour of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, RBI’s share price stands up 0.17 per cent at $66.52.

FURTHER READING: Burger King in Venezuela starts first Bitcoin payments

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