This won't be the only time that we hear this sentiment from industry CEOs who have been dragging their feet on offering delivery, updating loyalty programs, and utilizing in-store technology. On the plus side, they get to learn from others' mistakes.
— Erika Adams
Daniel Schwartz, the CEO of Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Burger King, Popeye’s, and Tim Horton’s, admitted to investors on the company’s third-quarter earnings call that yes, RBI has been behind on technology, especially in its North American stores.
Now, it’s time to play catch-up. On delivery, Schwartz noted that 2,000 Burger King restaurants in North America now offer options for delivery, and 5,000 total locations have the capability into their store. “Our business has already benefited from delivery in China,” Schwartz said on the call. “It’s quite a high percentage of sales for our Burger King restaurants in China and has been for some time now.”
Burger King also launched its mobile order and pay app in the U.S. earlier this quarter. Within weeks, Schwartz said, they counted roughly two million downloads for the app. “We will continue to enhance the app over time based on guest feedback, and we’ll also pursue integrations with other technologies in an effort to offer our guests a seamless digital experience,” Schwartz said.
At Popeye’s, the leadership team has streamlined technology in the restaurants, specifically whittling down the number of different point of sale systems that franchisees use from 40 to two. Schwartz sees Popeyes as full of potential growth; the company just opened its 3,000th Popeye’s location and sees much more room for future expansion in the U.S.
“In a few years, when we’re on one of these calls, we’ll be able to talk about growing much faster with Popeyes,” Schwartz said. “It takes time. You have to set up teams, infrastructure, supply chain. But we have time as long-term owners of the business, and we’re committed to doing it.”