TORONTO — The CEO of RBI, Jose Cil, released a letter earlier in the week, addressing the growing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and what his company is doing to address them.
“The typical format to do this would be a press release, but given the extraordinary circumstances, it felt more fitting to share with you our thoughts as a company in an open letter. Our goal is to provide a direct and candid perspective on how we’ve organized ourselves and our resources to work through this greatest of challenges,” said Cil in the prepared statement.
Cil spoke of the importance of supporting the health and well-being of all RBI staff globally, as well as keeping restaurant hygiene and safety procedures top of mind and giving back to the communities in which RBI members live and work.
“At Tim Hortons in Canada, we’ve partnered with our restaurant owners across the country to establish a $40-million employee-support fund to continue paying team members affected by COVID-19 for up to 14 days,” said Cil. “Similarly, at Burger King and Popeyes in North America, we’re providing paid sick leave for up to 14 days to team members in corporate-owned restaurants who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been asked by the restaurant manager or a medical professional to self-isolate.”
Furthermore, the company has expanded the availability of home delivery across all three of its brands, including internal delivery channels for both Burger King and Popeyes on their respective apps. In the U.S. and in Canada, RBI plans to scale up its delivery coverage for Tim Hortons and will also be introducing a mobile pick-up feature on the Tim Hortons app.
The company also plans to launch safe operational procedures such as curbside or front-door takeout to limit the contact between staff and customers.
The company has also announced extensive measures to protect its restaurant owners.
“In many markets around the world, including North America, we’re advancing cash payments and rebates to restaurant owners so they have this much-needed cash when they need it the most — right now. In North America, this represents approximately US$70M of available cash advance,” said Cil.
Additionally, the company has switched its rent structure for approximately 3,700 properties —including Tim Hortons in Canada and Burger King in the U.S. and Canada — from a combination of fixed-plus-variable rent to 100-per-cent variable rent, and have deferred rent payments for up to 45 days.
As for community support, Tim Hortons locations in Canada have sent out coffee trucks to offer free coffee and doughnuts to frontline healthcare workers and first responders at hospitals, healthcare centres and COVID-19 test facilities.
“I feel compelled to say I am incredibly proud of how everyone in the extended RBI family has pulled together during these very difficult times. I have great faith and more confidence than ever in all our teams and the steps we’re taking to come out of this crisis even stronger than before,” said Cil.