Burger King parent taps new CEO, shuffles executives
- Restaurant Brands International promoted long-time Burger King executive Jose Cil to CEO of the holding company following the promotion of Daniel Schwartz to executive chairman and co-chairman to the company’s board of directors. Schwartz previously served as CEO at RBI, according to a press release.
- The company also promoted Josh Kobza, who previously served as chief financial officer and chief technology and development officer at RBI, to chief operating officer overseeing global development, technology and operational teams.
- RBI also announced its fourth quarter net restaurant growth was 2.1% for Tim Hortons, 6.1% for Burger King and 7.3% for Popeyes. Total growth across all three brands for 2018 was 5.5%.
Despite other brands shifting executives in and out amid signs of trouble and declining traffic, Restaurant Brands International's move does not appear to be a symptom of a struggling company. The company's executive changes will better prepare the brand for further growth, according to the press release.
RBI's year-end financials boast positive comparable sales across all three brands, compared to 2017 when only Burger King posted a comparable sales increase of 3.1%. Unit count also increased by about 1,000 units across its three brands last year.
Burger King, RBI's biggest brand with over 17,000 units, has been going head-to-head with McDonald's of late, and keeping its brand in the minds of customers. Its most recent campaign allowed customers to trade in MacCoins for a Big King XL sandwich. It also used geolocation to offer a 1-cent Whopper to customers who order within 600 feet of a McDonald's. Its BK app was downloaded over 1 million times during this promotion.
Burger Kings has also been deploying tech-filled remodels across its U.S. stores to boost a decline in same-store sales reported in early 2018. The renovations come complete with dual drive-thru lanes, self-order kiosks, digital menus and an open kitchen that sounds very similar to McDonald's ongoing transformation across its franchised locations.
RBI also implemented a plan early in 2018 to improve performance and franchisee profits at Tim Hortons, and started testing delivery for Burger King and Popeyes in the U.S., according to Forbes.
Alongside these ongoing strategies, RBI has plans for ongoing unit growth, especially outside the U.S. Last year it entered into several new franchisee agreements for Burger King in the U.K, Taiwan and Netherlands, according to Forbes.
Cil, who was previously CEO of Burger King since 2014 and has been with the company for nearly 20 years, will help grow all three brands globally in his new role as well as improving the customer experience, increasing franchise profitability, according to the release.
Kobza, who has served in executive roles at the company for seven years and was responsible for leading the acquisitions of Tim Hortons and Popeyes, also will be focused on growing the brand internationally and oversee international franchise partnerships and the implementation of technology initiatives, according the company.
Schwartz, who was instrumental in the creation of RBI through the acquisitions of the three brands, will remain focused on talent acquisition, capital allocation and major initiatives, the company said.
Despite ongoing challenges in the fast food industry, such as rising food prices, RBI executives said in the release that they remain optimistic about its future, and the company's strong end to 2018 seem to reflect that.
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