McDonald's India franchisee Westlife's profit soars on dine-in demand

FILE PHOTO: Visitors are seen at a McDonald's restaurant in Mumbai

(Reuters) - McDonald's India franchisee Westlife Foodworld Ltd reported a 74% jump in third-quarter profit on Tuesday, as more people dined at its restaurants.

The company, which owns the franchise for McDonald's Corp in west and south India, reported consolidated net profit after tax for the December quarter of 363.5 million rupees ($4.43 million) compared with 208.2 million rupees a year earlier.

Westlife's on-premise and off-premise businesses, which includes online orders, grew 42% and 12%, respectively.

Quick service restaurants (QSR) have seen demand at physical outlets and for takeouts rise through the holiday period, especially in October and December, according to analysts.

Shares of Westlife, which rose 40% in 2022, were up nearly 6% on Tuesday.

Operating margin for the quarter rose to 23.8% even as costs remained elevated, with expenses rising 26%.

Westlife said it opened six new restaurants in the quarter, and plans to add 35 to 40 new outlets in this financial year.

"Menu innovations, omnichannel presence, and cost leadership will continue to be the key growth drivers for us," the company said in a statement.

Total sales for the quarter rose 28% to 6.1 billion rupees.

Rival Jubilant Foodworks, which runs the Domino's Pizza chain of restaurants in India, posted a 10% rise in profit in the prior quarter, benefiting from higher dine-in demand. The company is slated to report third-quarter results on Wednesday.

($1 = 82.0150 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Aleef Jahan in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)