Fourth quarter net income at Burger King Worldwide Inc. nearly doubled, the company reported Friday, on the strength of increased systemwide sales, net unit growth and the cost-cutting transition to a franchised model.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Miami-based Burger King earned $48.6 million, or 14 cents per share, compared with earnings of $25.0 million, or 7 cents per share, in the same quarter a year earlier. Latest-quarter corporate revenue fell 30.3 percent to $404.5 million as the company continued to refranchise corporate restaurants, driving down company-unit revenue but escalating franchise fees and revenue.
At the end of 2012, Burger King’s system totaled 12,997 locations, including 418 company-owned restaurants and 12,579 franchised units. The company refranchised a total of 871 restaurants in 2012, including a large deal with franchisee Carrols Restaurant Group Inc. in March.
Burger King booked $104.9 million in proceeds from refranchising, disposition of assets and restaurant closures during 2012, the company reported.
Fourth-quarter systemwide same-store sales rose 2.7 percent globally, driven by a 2.8-percent increase at franchised locations and a flat result at company units. The U.S. and Canada division drove the results by posting a same-store sales increase of 3.7 percent for the quarter. The company cited its restaurant reimaging campaign and new menu developments as sales drivers.
Burger King specifically highlighted its Chicken Parmesan sandwich, Cinnabon Minibon Rolls and the holiday sweets menu, including sweet potato curly fries and gingerbread desserts, as sales drivers at the end of 2012.
For the full year ended in December, Burger King reported a 33.6-percent increase in net income to $117.7 million, or 34 cents per share, on total revenue of $1.97 billion. A year earlier, the company posted net income of $88.1 million, or 25 cents per share, on revenue of $2.34 billion.
Global systemwide same-store sales rose 3.2 percent, with the U.S. and Canada posting a 3.5-percent increase.