US restaurant chain Wendy's International has predicted a fall in earnings in the first quarter of 2005.

"In the first two quarters of 2005, the Company has faced difficult sales comparisons, higher than expected beef costs, expenses associated with the rollout of Wendy's double-sided grill and costs for Tim Hortons' new distribution centre in Canada," it said.

The price of beef during the first quarter was $1.42 a pound, compared with $1.34 last year. The company said it anticipates beef prices of around $1.52 a pound for the second quarter of the year, compared with $1.23 last year.

Wendy's said its management expects second half performance to be stronger than first half.