Burger King Parent Names New CEO

Burger King Parent Names New CEO

COO Joshua Kobza Will Take the Reins from José Cil to Lead Restaurant Brands International

Joshua Kobza, currently the chief operating officer of Restaurant Brands International (RBI), will move into the CEO slot on March 1. RBI owns the restaurant franchises Burger King, Firehouse Subs, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Tim Hortons. In tandem with announcing the leadership change, the Toronto-based franchisor stated that it also will assist its franchise owners in increasing their profitability, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Kobza, 36, was heir apparent to CEO José Cil. In addition to his COO role, he has previously been RBI’s chief financial officer and chief technology officer. He has been with the fast-food restaurant parent company for 11 years. Cil, who has held the CEO position since 2019, will stay on for a year as an adviser.

RBI Under Kobza

Although Kobza has not disclosed the goals on his agenda as CEO, he told CNBC that he believes RBI can “grow a lot faster in our international markets.” He also said he plans to give all four of the fast-food brands “more autonomy” to invest in new ways based on what they see as optimum for their markets. During an investor call on Tuesday, Feb. 14, Patrick Doyle, the company’s executive chairman, said he’s confident that Kobza will assist RBI in improving all of its restaurant brands and fostering growth. Burger King had reigned as the second-biggest U.S. burger chain, behind McDonald’s, but Wendy’s moved into the No. 2 ranking in 2020 and has maintained that position since, the Journal stated.

Current Turnaround Campaign

RBI has already launched a $400 million campaign to boost Burger King via remodeled restaurants, operational modifications and an advertising push. One highly visible part of the ad campaign has been the retooling of the company’s catchy jingle from about 50 years ago and a new tagline, “You Rule,” to emphasize a customer-centric focus. RBI leaders have promised the turnaround drive should greatly help franchisees, but they’ve also said this effort will probably not reach full fruition until 2025.

In its earnings report on Tuesday, RBI leaders said that same-store sales had increased 8% overall in the last quarter of 2022 and grown almost 12% system-wide. Despite those encouraging numbers, company leaders acknowledged that franchisees’ profits had dipped because of a decline in sales revenue complicated by the rising costs of food. In a hopeful note, Kobza told CNBC that “we’re starting to see some moderation in inflation, which is really helpful.” He added that the company will be “thoughtful and cautious” as it considers its future pricing strategy.

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning writer who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. A seasoned journalist, Mary covers the latest industry news in her role as staff writer for FranchiseWire.
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