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Low Risk in Fast Food: Tim Hortons, Burger King and Popeyes

04/25/2019 5:00 am EST

Focus: CONSUMER

Mike Larson

Editor, Weiss' Safe Money Report and Under-the-Radar Stocks

Restaurant Brands International (QSR) is a Toronto-based company owns, operates and franchises the Tim Hortons, Burger King and Popeyes chains of “Quick Services Restaurants” — or what we used to call fast food, notes Mike Larson, editor of Safe Money Report.

Together, the three brands have more than 25,700 locations in 100 countries. Those outlets generated a cumulative $5.4 billion in sales and $1.24 billion in adjusted profit in 2018. Meanwhile, it has taken other steps to boost results recently.

* In January, it named Jose Cil, an 18-year veteran of the Burger King division, as CEO. At the same time, the company revealed that same-store sales growth was accelerating at Tim Hortons and Burger King. The news sent QSR shares up almost 10% on the day.

* In February, QSR opened its first Chinese location in Shanghai. The move is part of a plan to eventually expand to 1,500 restaurants in China over the next decade.

* In March, it unveiled a new Tims Rewards loyalty program. It’s designed to encourage repeat business by offering various perks and resembles the highly successful program offered by Starbucks.

* Finally, in April, the company started rolling out the plant-based “Impossible Whopper” in 59 St. Louis-area locations.

To put the icing on the cake ... or tomato on the burger, if you prefer ... QSR raised its quarterly dividend another 5 cents to 50 cents earlier this year. That’s more than double what the company was paying at the beginning of 2018, and it works out to an indicated yield of around 3%.

The stock also hasn’t earned anything less than a “B-” (BUY) Weiss Rating since December 2017. And it goes without saying that lower-priced, convenience-oriented chains like QSR operates should fare better than higher-end restaurants if I’m right about a slowing economy.

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