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MIAMI-Burger King still has room to grow its restaurant count both here and abroad, executives detailed during their first-quarter conference call. “There’s a lot of trading areas that are really right for us from a development standpoint,” says John Chidsey, the company’s chief executive officer.

In the next fiscal year, management is planning more than 400 new units globally, a net of 250 after closures, 100 to 150 of which will open in North America. That number is up from the 42 net new openings Burger King had in the last year. The chain now has nearly 9,900 units around the world, two-thirds of which are in North America.

Room for expansion in North America is characterized by the fact that there are 3,500 units operated by competitor McDonald’s that do that have a Burger King within five miles, Chidsey says. Additionally, the chain is rolling out a new, slimmed down store concept called “ROC,” 20 of which are already open, with about 80 in the pipeline.

On the international front, executives say there is room to grow because they claim Burger King is one-fifth the size of the chain’s closest competitor. There are about 730 Burger Kings in Latin America, while the other 2,800 are in other parts of the globe.

Burger King’s same-store sales in the first quarter, which ended Sept. 30, rose 2.4% year over year and 2.6% in North America. Net income shot up 82%, hitting $40 million, while total sales hit $546 million, rising 7%.

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