Burger King Worldwide Inc. is at risk of losing U.S. customers in the wake of a decision to move its headquarters to Canada, according to a survey from YouGov BrandIndex.
Consumer perception of the brand, measured by YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score, has turned negative following an Aug. 26 announcement that Burger King is merging with Tim Hortons Inc. and shifting its corporate base north of the border, where corporate taxes are lower. Purchase consideration, which measures the portion of consumers who might visit the chain on their next fast-food run, also has declined, the research firm said today in a report.
When the companies first disclosed that they were in merger talks on Aug. 24, it fueled debate over American businesses shifting to other countries in search of lower tax bills. President Barack Obama criticized the practice in July, and his aides said that the administration would take action to stymie the trend.
Of the 30,000 Americans surveyed, 28 percent now say they would consider going to Miami-based Burger King, down from 32 percent on Aug. 26. That is the lowest level of purchase consideration since December 2013, YouGov BrandIndex said.
Burger King Chief Executive Officer Daniel Schwartz has said that the tax benefits of moving to Canada are minimal and not central to the company’s decision to relocate.
“We don’t expect our tax rate to change materially,” Schwartz told investors on a conference call last month. “This transaction is not really about tax. It’s about growth.”
© Copyright 2021 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.