Burger King grills up a sales pop as COVID-19 vaccinations pickup: Restaurant Brands CEO

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·2 min read

Nothing like a flame-grilled Whopper after waiting for an hour or two to get your COVID-19 vaccine. Or so it seems if you are a resident in the U.S. 

Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands (QSR) said Friday that first quarter U.S. same-store sales at the burger outfit rose 6.6%. Same-store sales in the fourth quarter of 2020 dropped 3.2% for Burger King. A year ago sales for the chain fell 6.5% as the pandemic put a halt to social mobility. 

"The mobility changes have an impact on people being out on the streets and their visitation to restaurants. The vaccine rollout in the U.S. has been a positive movement for the economy and for our business as well," explained Restaurant Brands CEO Jose Cil on Yahoo Finance Live. The first quarter performance for Burger King outperformed the 0.9% increase at Restaurant Brands' Popeyes restaurants in the U.S.

Cil also credited a favorable response to Burger King's new $1 menu as a key sales driver.

FILE- This Feb. 1, 2018, file photo shows a Burger King Whopper meal combo at a restaurant in Punxsutawney, Pa. Restaurant Brands, which operates Burger King, reports financial results Friday, Aug. 2.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
FILE- This Feb. 1, 2018, file photo shows a Burger King Whopper meal combo at a restaurant in Punxsutawney, Pa. Restaurant Brands, which operates Burger King, reports financial results Friday, Aug. 2.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

"It [value menu] has been in place throughout the quarter and it helped us drive year-over-year improvement in traffic gains as well as versus the industry. We are encouraged in the early days. We have one of the most compelling value offers now," Cil added.

Overall, same-store sales for the company's Canadian-based Tim Horton's dropped 2.3%, rose 0.7% for Burger King and gained 1.5% at Popeyes. 

Here is how Restaurant Brands performed compared to Wall Street estimates for the first quarter. 

  • Net Sales: $1.26 billion vs. $1.28 billion

  • Diluted EPS: 55 cents vs. 51 cents

Restaurant Brands shares rose 2% in Friday trading. 

"Today's update should be enough to keep existing investors engaged in the stock as well as pique the interest of others looking for a turnaround/recovery story with legs," Wells Fargo restaurant Jon Tower wrote in a research note soon after the results. 

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

What’s hot from Sozzi:

Watch Yahoo Finance’s live programming on Verizon FIOS channel 604, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Samsung TV, Pluto TV, and YouTube. Online catch Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, SmartNews, and LinkedIn.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting