Burger King Canada appoints new president amid shifting focus

Burger King has appointed Tom Curtis, its Chief Operating Officer, as president of its operations in the Americas. Curtis will oversee the chain’s Burger King Canada and Burger King U.S. business. 

Curtis, who replaces outgoing Burger King Americas president Chris Finazzo, joined several months ago with 35 years of experience as a franchisee and ultimately EVP of U.S. operations and global operations support at Domino’s.

This marks the latest of several executive changes at Burger King in the past few months at a time when the chain is attempting to somewhat reinvent itself in the QSR space and stand out from its competitors.

Burger King launched a digitally focused rebrand in January and has also rolled out a loyalty program. Since then, it reported in Q1 2021 that its digital business grew 40 per cent year-over-year. However, its COVID-19 recovery has been much slower than its QSR competitors. In Q2, the Burger King’s U.S. same-store sales increased 3.1 per cent on a two-year basis, compared to 14.9 per cent at McDonald’s and 11.7 per cent at Wendy’s. 

As part of its attempt to lead the market in an increasingly digital world, the chain is looking to modernize with restaurant designs that feature dedicated mobile order and curbside pickup areas, as well as enhanced drive-thrus. These units, which are 60 per cent 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 behaviours 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. 

In early August, Cil had described the chain’s five-point plan: driving innovation in the core menu and accelerating daypart and category extensions, working with franchisees to maintain operational consistency, committing to a fully integrated digital ordering experience, reimaging the portfolio, and translating the brand’s global advertising creativity into stronger loyalty and long-term traffic.