Restaurant Brands International (QSR -1.21%), the parent of Burger King, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, and Tim Hortons, beat Wall Street's expectations on the top and bottom lines, mostly on the strength of its chicken joint's performance.

Although Popeyes gains were slightly less than what analysts expected, the chain's growth was strong enough to help offset the declines at the burger shack and coffee shop.

Popeyes chicken sandwich

Image source: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

Love those numbers from Popeyes

The restaurant operator's revenue in the quarter fell 25% to $1.05 billion from $1.4 billion last year, but it was ahead of analyst consensus estimates of $1.04 billion. Similarly, profits of $142 million last year tumbled to $106 million, or $0.35 a share this year, but that was significantly better than the $0.29 per share forecast by Wall Street.

Restaurant Brands has Popeyes to thank as it was the only chain in the portfolio to post growth. In a year where virtually every restaurant everywhere has seen sales fall due to the pandemic, the chicken chain recorded eye-popping 24% sales growth, with comparable sales jumping nearly 25% over last year.

In contrast, Burger King systemwide sales fell 25% with comps down 13% while at Tim Hortons sales tumbled 33% on a near-30% drop in comps.

Likely Popeyes' famed chicken sandwich continued to draw in the crowds, and you'll still find lines of customers waiting to get into the restaurant, though today that's probably more the result of social distancing protocols than actual demand for the sandwich.

Still, where Burger King and Tim Hortons suffered declines in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, Popeyes' adjusted profits jumped 24% year over year to $51 million. The only drawback is Popeyes is the smallest chain of the three so its contributions don't move the needle as much.