In an open letter released today, Restaurant Brands International CEO Jose Cil laid out how the company’s three restaurant chains—Popeyes, Burger King and Tim Hortons—would respond to the coronavirus epidemic.
For U.S.-based chains Popeyes and Burger King, employees at corporate-owned restaurants in North America will get 14 days of paid sick leave if they are diagnosed with COVID-19, or are asked by a manager or medical professional to self-isolate due to exposure to the virus. (The company did not immediately respond to a question regarding how many of its restaurants are corporate-owned.)
For Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons, RBI has established a $40 million employee support fund that restaurant owners can tap into to pay employees for up to 14 days while they’re home sick.
Corporate restaurant employees across all three brands will get a bonus in April, Cil wrote, “to recognize their tremendous service to our guests and communities during this difficult time.”
RBI is also sending out infrared thermometers to each of its restaurants to make sure employees are healthy when they arrive at work.
In addition to worker support, RBI is advancing roughly $70 million in cash payments to restaurant owners. And for the 3,700 locations in the U.S. and Canada where the company owns the buildings that house its restaurants, RBI is deferring rent payments and changing their payment structure to help offset declining sales. It’s also pausing obligations that require big capital expenditures, like equipment changes and remodels.
The letter also highlighted the work that the three brands have been doing to support communities throughout the pandemic, such as two free kids meals at U.S. Burger King restaurants with the purchase of an adult meal, free Tim Hortons coffee for healthcare workers, and Popeyes matching donations to No Kid Hungry.
Cil wrote that all restaurants have instituted new, more stringent cleaning procedures, and that staff have been trained on social distancing strategies. He also noted that new delivery options are available at all three restaurants.
He finished the letter by warning that “there is undoubtedly more uncertainty and tough decisions ahead,” and adding that RBI “will tackle them as a team, with a wide range of voices and perspectives.”
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