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Restaurant Brands expands its Burger King franchise empire

Burger King image on windows

Quick-service restaurant company Restaurant Brands Inc. (NYSE: QSR) owns four well-known fast food brands, including Tim Hortons, Burger King, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Firehouse Subs. 

The asset-light consumer discretionary sector company operates under a franchise model, generating over $40,000 billion in system-wide annual sales through more than 30,000 restaurants in over 100 countries worldwide. The company doesn't own or operate the stores. It manages, markets and designs standards and procedures to support franchisees generating revenues from franchise fees and royalties.

Carrols Restaurant Group

On January 16, 2024, the company acquired Carrols Restaurant Group Inc. (NASDAQ: TAST) for $1 billion, or $9.55 per share. Carrols is the largest Burger King franchisee, with 1,022 restaurants generating $1.8 billion in system sales. It also owns 60 Popeyes restaurants

Carrols has been a Burger King franchisee since 1976, operating 1,022 Burger Kings in 28 states and a franchisee of 60 Popeyes locations in six states since 2019. Restaurant Brands will invest another $500 million in the next five years to remodel 600 of the acquired restaurants to the new prototypes funded by Carrols' operating cash flow.

Burger King gets a makeover

Burger launched its $400 million "Reclaim the Flame" makeover strategy in September 2022. The strategy will invest in remodeling, relocating, marketing and digital channels. While prior marketing campaigns have focused on its Whopper flagship product, the new marketing campaign will focus on the flame grilling. 

The differentiator with Burger King's burger has always been the smoky backyard flavor from flame-broiling its patties. Burger King's international sales rose 7.6%, and U.S. sales rose 6.6% in the third quarter of 2023.

Burger King still lags behind McDonalds Co. (NYSE: MCD) and Wendy's Co. (NASDAQ: WEN) in its store unit growth. The remodeled locations will be more mobile order-friendly and efficient. The company is testing in-store kiosks and investing $30 million to improve its app. The company plans to raise wages and prices.

Enter the Bacon King

Burger King launched its first major menu promotion of 2024. It introduced the Candied Bacon Whopper on January 29, 2024. It's rolling out its Fiery Big Fish sandwich featuring Alaskan Pollack with a spicy glaze. It launched a vegan-friendly Ultimate Bean Burger in February 2024 in the U.K. 

The company also hands out cardboard crowns to all customers, underscoring its new motto, "You Rule." Whopper Wednesdays is a new promotion featuring discounts and deals on Wednesdays.  

Profitable and growing 

Restaurant Brands saw digital channel sales for burgers grow 40% in Q3 2024. The company reported Q3 2023 EPS of 90 cents, beating analyst expectations by five cents, with revenues rising 6.43% year-over-year (YoY) to $1.84 billion. 

Its consolidated system-wide sales rose 10.9% YoY to $1.1 billion. Global comparable sales rose 7%, comprised of 8.1% at Tim Horton's in Canada, 7.6% at Burger King International, and 6.6% at Burger King in the United States. Its fourth-quarter 2023 results are scheduled to be reported on February 13, 2023.

Restaurant Brands analyst ratings and price targets are at MarketBeat. Look for Restaurant Brands' peer and competitor stocks with the MarketBeat stock screener. 

Daily descending triangle pattern 

The daily candlestick chart on QSR illustrates a descending triangle pattern. The descending upper trendline formed when QSR peaked at $79.94 on January 31.

Lower highs and lower lows accompanied the sell-off towards the $75.76 flat-bottom trendline that overlaps with the daily 50-period moving average (MA) support at $75.88. The daily market structure low (MSL) buys trigger formed at $77.50. The daily relative strength index (RSI) has gone flat at the 50-band. Pullback support levels are at $75.76, $.73.93, $72.60 and $71.01. 

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