TORONTO — Burger King comparable sales in the United States have recovered from losses earlier this year associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“In our home market as of last week, nearly all Burger King restaurants are open and comparable sales are now trending approximately flat to last year compared to the negative mid-30s in mid-March,” said José Cil, chief executive officer of parent company Restaurant Brands International, Inc., on June 29. “This is driven by strong performance in drive-thru given most of our dining rooms throughout North America remain closed or offer reduced seating.”
Comparable sales for Popeyes are growing by percentages in the high 20s as the chain begins to overlap the US launch of a chicken sandwich in 2019, he added. Comparable sales for Tim Hortons, which had percentage losses over 40% in mid-March, continue to improve.
Toronto-based Restaurant Brands International is repaying in full a $1 billion revolving credit facility taken out in March, Mr. Cil said.
Digital innovation has helped RBI recover, he said.
“Our teams have rewritten code for our apps, reimagined service opportunities like curbside pickup and expanded delivery services into thousands of new restaurants,” he said. “The outcome has been a significant increase in digital sales in North America, and we believe this trend shift to digital is what guests will continue to demand.”
Nearly all Popeyes restaurants in the United States are open for takeout and delivery. Tim Hortons is 90% open in Canada. The closed restaurants are mostly in malls, food courts, sporting complexes and other public facilities that remain closed.
In Asia-Pacific, more than 90% of the RBI restaurants are open. More than 80% of the restaurants in Europe, Middle East and Africa are open, and about 60% of the restaurants in Latin America are open.
Mr. Cil also gave an update on RBI’s diversity efforts.
“In 2019, we promoted more women than we had before, and, halfway into 2020, we have already hired more female senior leaders into the company than previously,” he said. “We have a lot more work to do, but when we make something a priority, we deliver on it.
“We recently celebrated our LGBTQ2+ community for Pride Month and are proud to have achieved 100% in 2020 on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index.”
He added RBI will work on improving racial diversity within the company.
“Starting immediately, I am making a commitment to ensure at least half of all final-round candidates interviewing for roles with our four RBI offices will be from groups that are demonstrably diverse, including race,” Mr. Cil said. “I am taking on this commitment along with our leadership team to ensure that this becomes a permanent diversity shift that permeates every corner of RBI.”