Burger King is among a number of publicly traded restaurant chains. The Burger King brand is one of a number of chains owned by the Canadian-American multinational company Restaurant Brands International Inc. (RBI), which also owns Popeyes and Tim Hortons. The stock symbol for Restaurant Brands International is QSR. There is no separate Burger King stock symbol under current ownership.
The Purpose of Stock Symbols
A stock symbol (also called a ticker symbol) is a unique combination of characters used to identify a company on a publicly traded market. Most of the time, letters are used in these abbreviations, although numbers may also be used.
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Some stock symbols are readily identifiable, such as AAPL for Apple Inc. Others, such as the QSR used for Restaurant Brands International, are not so obvious. In this case, the stock symbol RBI is used for the Austrian banking group Raiffeisen Bank International, a company that was founded in 1927 – way before the founding of either Burger King or Restaurant Brands International.
A company's stock symbol is often prefaced with an abbreviation for the exchange on which it is listed. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ) are the two major exchanges in the U.S. The basic difference between the two is that the NYSE is an auction market, while the NASDAQ is a dealer market. A company can be listed on one or both exchanges with the same stock symbol. To distinguish between the two, they would be listed as NASDAQ: QSR and NYSE: QSR.
Burger King's Changes in Ownership
Burger King was founded in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1953 under the name Insta-Burger King. The fast-food restaurant's founders franchised a few locations and in 1959, Miami-based franchisees James McLamore and David R. Edgerton bought the company. They restructured the company and renamed it Burger King. By the time McLamore and Edgerton sold Burger King to the Pillsbury Company in 1967, there were over 250 locations nationwide.
Burger King changed ownership several more times, as the Pillsbury Co. was acquired by Grand Metropolitan PLC, which later merged with Guinness to create a new company. In 2002, Burger King was sold to a group of private equity firms. In 2006, explains the NASDAQ website, Burger King Holdings (stock symbol: BKC) went public and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
According to ABC News, Burger King Holdings briefly became a privately held company again before being listed once more on the New York Stock Exchange as Burger King Worldwide Holdings Inc. (stock symbol: BKW) in April 2012. In 2014, Burger King and Canadian chain Tim Horton's merged, forming the new company Restaurant Brands International.
Publicly Traded Restaurant Chains
There are a number of publicly traded restaurant chains in addition to Burger King's parent firm, Restaurant Brands International. Companies (and their stock symbols) include McDonald's (NYSE: MCD); Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX); Yum! Brands, which operates KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell (NYSE: YUM); Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG), Domino's Pizza (NYSE: DPZ); Dunkin; (NASDAQ: DNKN); Wendy's (NASDAQ: WEN); and Shake Shack (NYSE: SHAK).
According to the investment website The Motley Fool, restaurants (and their stocks) are expected to make a comeback as COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease and vaccination rates climb. Many restaurant chains were hit hard during the pandemic because of the sharp decline in commuter traffic, but companies that were able to boost digital sales, including RBI's Burger King, were profitable, according to Restaurant Business Online.