Burger King reported today that its fourth-quarter earnings rose 37 percent, as the chain completed its global refranchising initiative. Net income increased 99 percent in 2013, reaching $234 million compared to $118 million in 2012.
This year, Burger King refranchised 360 company-owned restaurants, allowing for costs to plummet and franchise fees to contribute to net income. Burger King also opened 670 new restaurants in 2013, representing 5.2 percent restaurant growth from 2012.
Essentially all Burger King restaurants are now owned and operated by independent franchisees, following the chain’s refranchising initiative in recent years. The focus on refranchising began in 2010, when 3G Capital purchased the company.
“We completed our global refranchising initiative, fundamentally transforming our business model and putting restaurant operations into the hands of our experienced franchisees,” Burger King CEO Daniel Schwartz said in a statement about the 2013 results. “In North America, our focus on launching fewer, more impactful products helped drive improved sales trends as the year progressed.”
Products that helped boost sales included the lower-calorie Satisfries and the Big King burger which, according to Burger King, outsizes rival McDonald’s Big Mac.
Burger King’s comparable sales grew 0.5 percent globally in 2013, but decreased by 0.9 percent in the U.S. In the fourth quarter, comparable sales grew 1.7 percent globally and 0.2 percent in the U.S.