What happened

Shares of Restaurant Brands International (QSR -1.15%) were up 9.5% as of 2:30 p.m. EST Wednesday after the quick-service restaurant specialist pre-released strong quarterly comparable sales, announced several executive changes, and raised its quarterly dividend. 

Restaurant Brands International saw comparable sales climb at each of its restaurant concepts, including 1.9% growth at Tim Hortons restaurants (accelerating from 0.6% growth last quarter), 1.7% at Burger King locations (accelerating from 1% in Q3), and a 0.1% increase at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (slowing from 0.5% last quarter). Meanwhile, the company grew its consolidated number of restaurants by 5.5% year over year.

Close-up of a Whopper hamburger.


So what

As for its executive changes, RBI promoted its current CEO Daniel Schwartz to the role of Executive Chairman and Co-Chairman of its board. Schwartz will continued focusing on talent acquisition, capital allocation, and broad strategic initiatives, while taking a more active role as a partner to the company's majority stakeholder, 3G Capital.

Succeeding Schwartz as CEO will be Jose Cil, who has served as President of Burger King since 2014. In addition, Josh Kobza has been promoted to RBI's Chief Operating Officer, having most recently served as the company's Chief Technology and Development Officer since 2018 and its CFO from 2013 to 2017.

RBI also raised its quarterly dividend to $0.50 per share and announced that it's targeting $2 per share in dividends for the full year of 2019 -- up from $1.80 per share last year.

Now what

Investors will need to wait another few weeks for RBI to release its final fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 results. Its new CEO is taking over as comps accelerate at Burger King and Tim Hortons, and its dividend is newly raised. So it's no surprise to see shares rallying today.

Check out the latest Restaurant Brands International earnings call transcript.