Continued strong demand for chicken, burgers and tacos has resulted in another strong year for Restaurant Brands.

The fast food operator’s net profit for the year ended December fell nearly 16 percent to $30.1m, but that was for a 44-week period, versus the year earlier’s 52-week period.

That company changed its balance date to December, from February, which made the year earlier comparisons difficult.

However, the company provided some like-for-like data, indicating the net profit rose 8.3 percent to $45.7m in the 12 months to February.

Total revenue for the 44-week period was $705.5m.

The company said New Zealand’s total sales were impacted by the sale of its Starbucks business the year earlier, but were still up 3.5 percent on the year earlier.

Underlying earnings rose 18.5 percent, driven by a strong performance from KFC, with same store sales up 5.2 percent.

The company continued to transition the Pizza Hut business to a franchise model, with 73 independent stores and was on target to reduce the number of company-owned stores by 15 over the year.

Carl’s Jr same store sales rose 11.3 percent with strong demand from the introduction of a delivery services.

The New Zealand launch of Taco Bell beat its expectations with a second store to open next month, and further five over the year.

The Australian operations also served up an improved performance with a 5.1 percent increase in same store sales.

Operations in Hawaii contributed $168.9m in revenue, with a strong result from Taco Bell.

However, it said the Pizza Hut business continued to be a challenge.

It said its plans to expand into California with the $73m purchase of KFC and Taco Bell stores was subject to necessary approvals, but expected that deal to finalised over the next month or two.

Restaurant Brands said income from those 59 KFC and 11 joint KFC/Taco Bell stores in California would have a positive material affect on its 2020 result.

Otherwise, the company said it was not expecting any significant change to operations.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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