Queen Sweep - March 20, 2012

One Happy Camper


Hey, at least it wasn’t another ‘dethroning’ joke. However, Wendy’s has finally overtaken Burger King as the #2 burger-based QSR chain in America, per a Technomic report as recapped in CNNMoney. The Dublin, Ohio-based chain generated $8.5 billion in sales in 2011, just edging out Miami-based Burger King’s $8.4 billion figure. What’s particularly impressive is Wendy’s roughly 5,900 U.S. restaurant count is 1,300 fewer than Burger King’s 7,200 figure, so Wendy’s is generally a less convenient option to visit. Moreover, Burger King has a well-established breakfast daypart compared to Wendy’s which is still testing/rolling out breakfast domestically, so BK has typically longer daily operating hours to generate sales. Still, Wendy’s generated a $1.4 million 2011 per store average sales figure compared to BK’s $1.2 million PSA figure.

Diverging 2011 same store sales put Wendy’s ahead of BK in 2011. Wendy’s finished 2011 up 2% in North American sss while BK declined -3.4%. In 4Q 2011, BK did see some sss improvement to -2% while Wendy’s finished strongly with a 4% sss gain. Wendy’s launch of its Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburgers and “W” burger certainly helped its cause. But BK has made improvements to its burger and fries menu as well. 2012 should be an interesting year for both chains, especially with BK’s motivation to regain its position and Wendy’s desire to continue its momentum.

Both chains have a ways to go to catch #1 McDonald’s, with $34.2 billion in 14,098 US. locations, followed by #2 Subway at $11.4 billion and #3 Starbucks at $9.8 billion. Both Subway and Starbucks each grew 7.5% in 2011 sales, per Technomics.  Total restaurant sales grew 3.4% in 2011, and with favorable seasonality plus an improving economy already positively impacting 2012 business, 2012 could shape up to be a pretty good year as well.

Photo Credit: lowellma.wordpress.com



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