Restaurant Brands' New Zealand KFC chain was the star of its first-quarter report, lifting sales 6.7 per cent from a year earlier and contributing the most to the company's overall 1.6 per cent sales increase.
The fast food operator's sales for the 12 weeks ended February 26 rose to $182.8 million, from $180m in the year-earlier quarter. The NZ KFC chain contributed $80m, up from $75m.
KFC opened three New Zealand stores in the latest period, taking store numbers to 97. Sales through stores open 12 months or more were up 5.2 per cent.
Restaurant Brands' total number of stores fell 22 compared with the year-earlier quarter, mainly because it sold 22 Starbucks Coffee outlets in October last year.
The NZ Pizza Hut chain's total sales through its 100-store network fell 3.1 per cent to $22.6m. Sales through the 31 company-owned stores, two fewer than the same quarter last year, fell 16.1 per cent to $7.7m.
The company continues to build and sell Pizza Hut stores in New Zealand to independent franchisees.
Sales through the 18-store Carl's Jr business in New Zealand rose 9.5 per cent to $8.3m in the latest quarter, reflecting the introduction of delivery via the UberEats platform.
Sales through the company's 61 KFC stores in Australia rose 1.9 per cent to A$40.7m, despite temporary closures for store refurbishments. On a same-store basis, sales were up 6 per cent.
Sales through Restaurant Brands' 36 Taco Bell stores in Hawaii rose 8 per cent to US$17.4m, reflecting successful promotions, the company said.
The company also owns 44 Pizza Hut stores in Hawaii. Sales there rose marginally to US$12.3m but were up 3.1 per cent on a same-store basis in Kiwi dollar terms.
The company says it is planning to roll-out 60 Taco Bell stores across Australasia, to open 30 new KFC stores and to refurbish another 50-60 KFC stores across Australasia in the next five years.
It also wants to build or rebuild 10-12 Taco Bells in Hawaii, buy 10-40 KFC stores in Australia and to pursue 2-3 KFC or Taco Bell acquisitions on the US mainland.
Mexico-based private equity company Finaccess Capital gained a 75 per cent stake in Restaurant Brands through a partial takeover offer last year priced at $9.45 per share.
Restaurant Brands shares are trading at $8.99 and, although down from the offer price, are still up about 14 per cent from a year ago.