Ordering a flame-grilled Whopper from the Burger King drive-thru may be more fun in the months ahead.
Parent company Restaurant Brands (QSR) said Tuesday it will add digital drive-thrus to 10,000 Burger King locations in the U.S. and Canada by mid-2022. Burger King operates more than 18,675 around the world.
The company will follow in the footsteps of fast-food rivals McDonald’s (MCD) and Starbucks (SBUX) that have digitized their important drive-thrus in recent years. Such efforts — which allow restaurant chains to show the weather on screens, quickly change promotions and offer new items on the fly depending on what’s selling well — are often viewed favorably by Wall Street. That's especially important now as people flock to ordering food via drive-thrus during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anything to eke out more profit in a competitive business, right?
"The drive-thru business has been a big focus throughout the pandemic. I think it has been a big part of our business for Burger King and Popeye's for decades. We've seen it obviously be a very important growth opportunity in the last seven or eight months," Restaurant Brands CEO Jose Cil told Yahoo Finance's The First Trade.
Restaurant Brands shares fell 2% in today's trading as investors chose to pay more attention to third quarter earnings out before the opening bell.
The company's third quarter consolidated same-store sales — which includes the performance of Burger King, Popeye's and Tim Horton's — fell 5.4% due to ongoing challenges from the coronavirus pandemic. Same-store sales at Popeye's continued to be hot on the back of demand for its popular chicken sandwich — sales rose 17.4%. Same-store sales at Burger King and Tim Horton's fell 7% and 12.5%, respectively.
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