FILE - In this Thursday, April 25, 2013, file photo, a car stops at the drive-thru at a Burger King restaurant near downtown Los Angeles. Burger King reports their quarterly earnings on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
NEW YORK — Burger King reported a higher quarterly profit as growth overseas helped lift a key sales figure.
The Miami-based chain says global sales rose 1.7 percent at locations open at least a year, with particularly strong results in Asia. In North America, where it introduced lower-calorie french fries called Satisfries, the figure edged up 0.2 percent.
By comparison, McDonald’s said the figure declined 1.2 percent in the U.S., while Wendy’s reported a 3.1 percent increase.
Burger King Worldwide Inc. didn’t immediately provide details on the performance of the fries, which it introduced with great fanfare in September. The chain says the fries have about 20 percent fewer calories than its regular fries as a result of a batter that blocks out some of the oil during the frying process.
They cost extra, with a small order priced at $1.89, or 30 cents more than the $1.59 for the regular fries.
Satisfries are just one the new menu creations from Burger King since the chain was purchased and taken private by 3G Capital, a Brazilian private investment firm. In 2012, 3G unveiled a revamped menu right before announcing a deal to take the chain public again.
The deal was structured in a way that let 3G more than recoup what it paid for Burger King while maintaining a majority stake. Among the string of new menu items the chain has since introduced are a sandwich that resembles a McRib and a burger that resembles a Big Mac.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Burger King says it earned $66.8 million, or 19 cents per share. That compares with $48.6 million, or 14 cents per share, a year ago.
Not including one-time items, it said it earned 24 cents per share, above the 23 cents per share Wall Street expected.
The sale of company-owned restaurants to franchisees led to lower revenue $265.2 million, which was below the $268.2 million analysts expected. Such refranchising reduces corporate revenue because the company records only the fees the franchisee pays rather than the total restaurant sales.
Burger King has about 11,000 locations around the world.