The bad news is starting early today, with Burger King disclosed a 10% drop in profits for its most recent quarter and O'Charley's posting a $103-million loss for 2008. The standout number: an 18% decline in same-store sales for O'Charley's Stoney River steakhouse chain, and the $7.99 price tag on new promotional items at the company's namesake brand.
O'Charley's said it has cut costs by cutting back its headquarters staff, freezing salaries and undertaking a "redesign" of benefits for hourly employees.
BK blamed its financial disappointment largely on unfavorable currency exchange rates. It stressed that North American comps had increased 1.9%, and noted that it will introduce in some areas a new, "extra thick" burger called the Steakhouse XT.
On Tuesday Yum! Brands also posted a double-digit drop in profits for its most recent quarter. Among the gems delivered in its follow-up call with analysts was the disclosure that KFC will introduce its value menu next week and will roll out the much-ballyhooed Kentucky Grilled Chicken line in April.