Yesterday Restaurant Brands International (RBI), owner of fast-food chains Burger King, Popeyes, and Tim Horton’s, announced its Q3 2019 Earnings Results.
The report showed that Burger King’s sales increased roughly 15 percent globally for the quarter. In the U.S., the launch of the Impossible Whopper drove 5% comparable sales growth, which Jose Cil, CEO of RBI, noted was the “strongest level since 2015.”
This isn’t exactly surprising. Impossible Whopper sales reportedly boosted traffic by over 18 percent to the BK in St. Louis which first tested the plant-based burger. Reports show, that the alt-meat burger is also leading to higher ticket sales and attracting more millennials and lapsed visitors (like The Spoon’s Chris Albrecht) to the fast-food giant. The RBI Earnings Results seems to indicate that this boost in traffic/ticket amount has continued as the Impossible Whopper rolled out to all Burger Kings nationwide.
Not all was rosy in the report, though. Tim Horton’s had what Cil called “a challenging quarter,” reporting only 0.1 percent growth compared to 2.8 percent growth in the same quarter a year earlier. This comes at the same time that the Canadian fast-food chain nixed Beyond Meat products from its menu, except in Ontario and British Columbia, just months after adding the plant-based meat to 4,000 of its restaurants.
These two facts might have nothing to do with each other. However, the report shows a rapid downturn for Tim Horton’s after the chain had a surprisingly strong Q2, in which its success was attributed, at least in part, to its adoption of Beyond Meat patties. Tim Horton’s rolled out the plant-based meat nationwide in July (that is, during Q3), so maybe consumers across Canada didn’t flock to the Beyond Meat offerings in the same way they did in the initial test markets?
Interestingly, Popeyes had one of its best quarters in nearly two decades, thanks to the viral popularity of its chicken sandwich. Next up, RBI might well continue its history of experimenting with alternative protein and launch a plant-based chicken sandwich. But it better hurry if it doesn’t want KFC or Chick-fil-A to beat it to the punch.