Restaurant Brands International Expands Online Ordering, Takeout Options

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Tim Hortons, Burger King and Popeyes' CEO shares the five priorities of RBI in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restaurant Brands International Expands Online Ordering, Takeout Options

By Anna Wolfe, Senior Editor - Restaurants - 03/31/2020

In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,  Restaurant Brands International  (RBI) has focused on five priorities across its three iconic restaurant brands, Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes.

In an open letter, CEO Jose Cil shared how RBI’s senior leaders gathered in early March via video conference to  discuss “the single most important agenda item that we felt couldn't wait – the evolution of our six company values.” He’s relied on those values (For example: Be a good person. Find ways to do things differently to make them better. A wide range of voices and perspectives make us stronger.) to guide recent decisions.

Five Priorities

  • Supporting the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of team members around the world with up to 14 days of paid sick leave in diagnosed COVID-19 cases.
  • Enhancing restaurant hygiene and safety procedures
  • Continuing to serve guests around the world safely and where it makes sense
  • Supporting our restaurant owners around the world
  • Giving back to the communities where we all live and work
  • Maintaining a strong balance sheet and thoughtfully managing RBI’s company's liquidity “so we can exit this crisis well-positioned to continue our journey of global growth with our dedicated partners around the world,” he wrote.

RBI is continuing to serve guests and sees increased demand for its low-touch options such as drive-thru, mobile order and pay/pickup, and delivery. To that end, RBI has expanded the availability of home delivery across all three of its restaurant brands, including through its own internal delivery channels on the Burger King and Popeyes apps in the US.  Not to be outdone, Tim Hortons restaurants in Canada will be “rapidly scaling” delivery coverage.

RBI’s in-house digital team has rapidly expanded and enhanced RBI’s online ordering platforms for all three brands. Fans of Tim Hortons now have enhanced mobile pick-up functionality on the beloved brand’s app, and along with Popeyes and Burger King, RBI will soon add “curbside takeout” or “front door takeout” options.

“…Team members will walk orders out to guests who can't access our drive-thrus, including truck drivers and guests arriving on foot,” said Cil.

Marketing has quickly pivoted to redirect marketing efforts to focus on the importance and safety of ordering through its mobile app, using delivery and drive-thru channels, and “health and safety measures like contactless payments,” Cil explained.

RBI is also helping its franchisees; its “working closely with all our restaurant owners around the world to make sure they have access to appropriate sources of liquidity in order to sustain their businesses throughout this crisis,” Cil said. In North America, the company has $70M of available cash advances.

At the 3,700 eligible locations with property control at Tim Hortons in Canada and Burger King in the US and Canada, RBI has temporarily converted its rent structure from a combination of fixed plus variable rent to 100% variable rent, and has deferred rent payments for 45 days.  Plus, RBI is contacting all of it landlords in North America “to seek further assistance that will be passed along to our restaurant owners as we receive it,” Cil said.

For now, capital expenditures for new restaurants, remodels and new equipment are on the backburner “until we have greater visibility into the severity and duration of this crisis,” Cil said.

The letter detailed many charitable efforts of its franchisees. The full letter can be read here.

In closing, Cil said, “I have great faith and more confidence than ever in all our teams and the steps we are taking to come out of this crisis even stronger than before… There is undoubtedly more uncertainty and tough decisions ahead of us. And we will tackle them as a team, with a wide range of voices and perspectives that will make us stronger.”

“…Team members will walk orders out to guests who can't access our drive-thrus, including truck drivers and guests arriving on foot,” said Cil.

Marketing has quickly pivoted to redirect marketing efforts to focus on the importance and safety of ordering through its mobile app, using delivery and drive-thru channels, and “health and safety measures like contactless payments,” Cil explained.

RBI is also helping its franchisees; its “working closely with all our restaurant owners around the world to make sure they have access to appropriate sources of liquidity in order to sustain their businesses throughout this crisis,” Cil said. In North America, the company has $70M of available cash advances.

At the 3,700 eligible locations with property control at Tim Hortons in Canada and Burger King in the US and Canada, RBI has temporarily converted its rent structure from a combination of fixed plus variable rent to 100% variable rent, and has deferred rent payments for 45 days.  Plus, RBI is contacting all of it landlords in North America “to seek further assistance that will be passed along to our restaurant owners as we receive it,” Cil said.

For now, capital expenditures for new restaurants, remodels and new equipment are on the backburner “until we have greater visibility into the severity and duration of this crisis,” Cil said.

The letter detailed many charitable efforts of its franchisees. The full letter can be read here.

In closing, Cil said, “I have great faith and more confidence than ever in all our teams and the steps we are taking to come out of this crisis even stronger than before… There is undoubtedly more uncertainty and tough decisions ahead of us. And we will tackle them as a team, with a wide range of voices and perspectives that will make us stronger.”