Food • Private equity firm continues fast-food chain turnaround.
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New York • Burger King's net income fell 83 percent in the third quarter as the world's second biggest hamburger chain sold off more of its restaurants to franchisees as part of a turnaround push. But the company's adjusted results topped Wall Street expectations.
The private investment firm that owns a majority stake in the fast-food chain, 3G Capital, has been working to put the shine back in Burger King's crown since purchasing it in 2010. In addition to unveiling its biggest ever menu expansion and a celebrity-studded ad campaign this spring, the firm has been shifting to an entirely franchisee-owned model to cut down on overhead costs and boost profit margins
3G's turnaround push comes amid a time of intensifying competition in the U.S., with Taco Bell's introduction of popular new menu items such as its Cantina bowls and Wendy's looking to transform into a higher-end burger chain. And although McDonald's Corp. is seeing growth slow after years of dominating its rivals, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain has vowed to intensify focus on its Dollar Menu and value message to boost results in the challenging economy. Additionally, traditional fast-food chains are increasingly competing with a newer breed of chains, such as Panera Bread Co. and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., which offer higher-quality food for a little more money.
Burger King, which until recently had focused on courting junk food loving younger men, said new offerings are helping bring in more women and customers who are 55 and older, without eating into its core offerings of Whoppers and French fries.