UPDATE: Aug. 24, 2021: Tom Curtis, Burger King's former Chief Operating Officer, has been appointed Burger King Americas president, the company announced Monday. He will oversee the chain's U.S. and Canada business.
"Tom joined us a few months ago and has quickly established a strong leadership position in the business and trust with our franchisees, informed by his 35 years of previous restaurant experience as both a franchisee and senior operations executive," José Cil, CEO of Restaurant Brands International, Burger King's parent company, said.
- Burger King Americas president Chris Finazzo has exited the burger chain, according to a company filing Tuesday. Chief Marketing Officer Ellie Doty and Chief Operating Officer Tom Curtis will lead the company's U.S. and Canada business on an interim basis, reporting directly to José Cil, CEO of parent company Restaurant Brands International.
- Doty joined Burger King in 2020 after working at Chili's and Yum Brands, and Curtis joined several months ago with 35 years of experience as a franchisee, executive and most recently executive vice president of U.S. operations and global operations support at Domino's.
- Finazzo had worked for Burger King since 2014, and managed the restaurant's domestic business for roughly four years. His departure comes as the company attempts to reinvent itself in the QSR space, launching a digitally focused rebrand in January and rolling out a loyalty program.
This marks the latest of several executive changes at Burger King in the past few months.
After tapping Curtis as COO in March, the chain's former chief marketing officer Fernando Machado left his post to join video game producer Activision Blizzard, opening the door for Doty to take on the role.
The chain's leadership shuffle comes as Burger King fights to stand out from fast food competitors and better cater to increasingly digital QSR customers. The chain's digital business grew 40% year-over-year, the company reported in Q1, and same-store sales rose 0.7%.
This performance will likely be improved by the chain's push to modernize its store footprint with restaurant designs that feature dedicated mobile order and curbside pickup areas, as well as enhanced drive-thrus. These units, which are 60% smaller than a traditional Burger King location, will be constructed this year in Miami, Latin America and the Caribbean.
"We took into consideration how consumer behaviors are changing and our guests will want to interact with our restaurants. The result is a new design concept that is attractive to guests and will allow our franchisees to maximize their return," Restaurant Brands International Chief Operating Officer Josh Kobza said in a statement about the store overhaul plans last year.
Burger King's U.S. business is also working to stay top of mind among fast food diners — and take some of the wind out of rival Chick-fil-A's sails — with a chicken sandwich promotion. For every Ch'King sandwich sold through June 30, the company donated 40 cents to the Human Rights Campaign for a maximum donation for $250,000. Burger King noted in its advertising that the promotion was applicable "even on Sundays" in a dig against Chick-fil-A, which has donated to anti-LGBTQ charities in the past.