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McDonald’s Corporation (MCD), Burger King Worldwide Inc (BKW): Who’ll Win These Wars?

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The burger wars are on. While McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) recent numbers barely made a ripple on Wall Street, let’s see what Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW) brings home this quarter. Is it a miss? Or is it a hit?

Low, low, low…

In its last quarter, Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW)’s revenue declined while earnings rose by a huge percentage, mostly owing to cost cutting. The company managed to beat profit estimates. Comparable-store sales declined by 1.4%, leading to a 42.5% fall in revenue for the quarter. Adjusted net income was up a massive 51% in the quarter at $60.1 million. Diluted earnings per share rose 49% from the previous year to $0.17.

And why so?

What was the reason behind Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW)’s revenue decline? For starters, the company’s sales in the comparable year-ago quarter were particularly high, leading to an unfair comparison for its last quarter. Secondly, a stronger dollar in the last few months has affected the company’s revenue unfavorably. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the fast-food chain is facing some very tough competition on its home turf.

McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) saw its US market share climb in its last quarter, despite a drop in US sales by 1.2%. The company has been toying with new offerings, restructuring its stores and aggressive marketing its dollar menu to boost sales.

McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) growth in markets like Russia and the UK, lower-priced products and recent initiatives to revamp its image might just cost Burger King a slice of market share. In fact, with plans for product diversification and a bigger brand image, McDonald’s looks like a better bet than Burger King. This share looks all set to grow in the times to come.

Another rival that has been doing decently well in the US is Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) which reported a 2% growth in same-store sales last quarter, mostly attributable to strong performance by its subsidiary, Taco Bell. The company, however, has been facing issues elsewhere.

Take China, for instance, where its subsidiary KFC got involved in issues related to its chicken supply and avian flu last year. In its last quarter, revenue from China was down 5% year-on-year while operating profits were down 40%. Until Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) gets its Chinese business back on track, its advisable for investors to stay away from its shares.

What’s the plan?

However, it’s not like Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW) to have no plans up its sleeve to ensure future growth. Not unlike McDonald’s, the company has added value products to its menu, which led to sales growth in March. Burger King’s Whopper Jr. for $1.29 and “2 for $5” promotion raked in sales for the company in the last few months, as did its promotional turkey burger.

In the quarters to come, Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW) plans to work on its offerings, providing more competitive products at lower prices. The company also plans to expand in China by opening over 1,000 stores in the next few years. Currently, the Chinese fast-food market is dominated by Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), which plans to add 700 new stores to its current total of over 4,500 in the country in 2013.

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