Burger King has been on a mission to bring more customers through the door and have a bite to eat, but it’s been an uphill battle.
Last year, the brand announced its plans to revamp the business with a $400 million investment, with $250 million to be spent improving restaurants and $150 million to be spent on advertising and marketing, per CNN. However, it has only spent $32 million on ads and its digital offerings and $35 million on remodeling to date, which doesn’t seem to be enough to fill seats with new patrons.
Over the past three months, Burger King had fewer customers compared to last year, CEO of Burger King’s parent company Restaurant Brands International (QSR), Josh Kobza, said during a Tuesday call to unpack quarterly financial results, per CNN.
However, sales at U.S. Burger King restaurants are up 8.3% year over year. The company attributes the sales growth to existing customers spending more and not necessarily new patrons trying out the menu.
As for Restaurant Brands International as a whole, which also owns Tim Hortons, Popeyes, and Firehouse Subs, sales rose to $1.78 billion surpassing Wall Streets expectations of $1.75 billion, according to CNBC.
Camilla Cerea/Bloomberg via Getty Images | An advert for the meat-free Rebel Whopper burger is displayed on a digital order kiosk at a Burger King.
“We are still not in positive territory,” Kobza said of the sales trend on the call. “Growth in traffic … is one of the most significant near-term opportunities we see for the brand.”
Kobza said Whopper-specific promotions, like the limited-edition Spider-Verse Whopper and marketing Whopper customizations, “drove higher average tickets and attracted younger guests” – boosting sales in the second quarter ending on June 30th.
As for Burger King’s plans to renovate its restaurants, the CEO said to expect to see “really high-quality remodels” by later this year into next.
Burger King is also modernizing its restaurants with kiosks.
“We’ve done another pretty big test here in our company restaurants,” Kobza said. “And we’re seeing a much better guest reception to kiosk than we might have seen five to seven years ago.”