Coronavirus fears shutter about 50% of Burger King locations in China

Brian Sozzi
Editor-at-Large

Restaurant Brands (QSR)  has joined a long list of restaurant companies feeling an impact from the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China.

Restaurant Brands CEO Jose Cil confirmed to Yahoo Finance about 50% of the company’s 1,000 or so Burger King locations are temporarily closed. “The biggest priority for us is making sure our team members are safe. Their health is of the utmost priority as well as the guests. We are working with local authorities and master franchisees in the markets to make sure we have everything in account,” Cil says.

A Chinese man walks past in front of a Burger King restaurant as it opens its first restaurant in mainland China on Monday, June 27, 2005 in downtown Shanghai, China. The Burger King, operating more than 11,000 restaurants in 65 countries and territories worldwide, joined a competitive Chinese first food market. (AP Photo)

Starbucks said in late January it has closed half of 4,400-plus locations in China. Meanwhile, Yum China said last week roughly 30% of its locations — including Pizza Hut and KFC — are temporarily closed. McDonald’s has also shuttered hundreds of locations in the country.

Separately, Restaurant Brands reported solid fourth-quarter results Monday morning, highlighting a surge in sales of Popeyes’ fried chicken sandwich.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Watch The First Trade each day here at 9:00 a.m. ET or on Verizon FIOS channel 604. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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