Shares of Restaurant Brands QSR, parent of Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons, reported comparable-sales progress at its chains amid the coronavirus pandemic and said that this week it would pay down all amounts under its revolving-credit agreement.
"In our home market as of last week," the company said in a statement, "nearly all Burger King restaurants are open and comparable sales" are trending about flat with a year earlier, compared with the negative mid-30s percent in mid-March.
Drive-through orders are behind the improvement since most dining areas in North America remain closed or offer reduced seating, Restaurant Brands said.
Popeyes is showing comparable-sales growth in the very high 20s percent with nearly all the restaurants open for takeout and delivery. Most dining rooms are still closed.
Popeyes is extremely bullish on its Chicken sandwich, saying that demand for the menu item has been strong since mid-June, when the chain brought it to Canada as a test market.
Meanwhile, at Tim Hortons 90% of locations in Canada are back open, with most of the ones that are still closed located in malls, food courts, sporting complexes and other public facilities that remain closed.
"Tim Hortons has shown sequential comparable sales improvements every week from the negative mid-40s [percent] in mid-March to the negative high teens as of last week," the company said.
Internationally, restaurants are more than 90% open in Asia-Pacific, more than 80% open in Europe-Middle East-Africa, and about 60% in Latin America, Restaurant Brands said.
At the beginning of March, Restaurant Brands had drawn down on its revolving credit facility out of an abundance of caution.
"Given the steady improvements we've seen in our business and our strong financial position, we are repaying all outstanding amounts under our revolver this week," Chief Executive Jose Cil, who took the helm at Restaurant Brands 18 months ago, said.
Restaurant Brands shares at last check were up 4.9% at $55.22.