Whopper of a mistake: Discount gaffe costs Burger King's top franchisee more than $12M

A double discount mistake turned into a whopper of a loss for the nation's largest Burger King franchisee.

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Officials with Carrols Restaurant Group of Syracuse, New York, which operates 1,032 Burger King fast-food restaurants, said a double discount on Whooper meals during the second and third quarters of 2019 resulted in a reduction of $12.4 million in revenue and a net loss of $8.2 million, the Syracuse Post-Standard reported.


Carrols' Burger King franchises combined two Whopper discounts, Restaurant Business reported.

According to CEO Dan Accordino, the error occurred when the company offered two Whopper Jr. sandwiches for $4, two Whoppers for $5 and two Double Whoppers for $6, the Post-Standard reported.

Customers were supposed to be charged regular prices for the fries and drinks they ordered with the discounted Whoppers. Instead, they were charged lower "value meal" prices, Accordino told the newspaper. That cost the company $1.50 on every sale, the Post-Standard reported.

"It was not an accounting issue. It was not a systems issue. It was a mistake," CEO Dan Accordino said during Carrols' third-quarter earnings call Thursday, according to a transcript on financial services site Sentieo. "We screwed up, and it cost us a fair amount of money."

Carrols' numbers have been much better since the mistake was discovered in August and corrected. Revenues rose 7.9% in September, compared with 4.5% overall during the third quarter, the Post-Standard reported.

"We screwed up, but the fact of the matter is, the underlying business is stronger than what our numbers reflect," interim Chief Financial Officer Timothy LaLonde told analysts in the same conference call Thursday, the Post-Standard reported.