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Table of Contents

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
Form 10-K
 
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 or 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023
or
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                      to                     
Commission file number: 001-36786
 
 RESTAURANT BRANDS INTERNATIONAL INC.
(Exact name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
  
Canada98-1202754
(State or Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
130 King Street West, Suite 300M5X 1E1
Toronto,Ontario
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)(Zip Code)
(905) 339-6011
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading SymbolsName of each exchange on which registered
Common Shares, without par valueQSRNew York Stock Exchange
Toronto Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None
 
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes       No  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer   Accelerated filer 
Non-accelerated filer   Smaller reporting company 
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by checkmark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant's executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes      No  
The aggregate market value of the common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant on June 30, 2023, computed by reference to the closing price for such stock on the New York Stock Exchange on such date, was $23,935,449,117.
The number of shares outstanding of the registrant’s common shares as of February 14, 2024 was 313,350,086 shares.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:
Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for the 2024 Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, which is to be filed no later than 120 days after December 31, 2023, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.



Table of Contents
RESTAURANT BRANDS INTERNATIONAL INC.
2023 FORM 10-K ANNUAL REPORT
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
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Tim Hortons® and Timbits® are trademarks of Tim Hortons Canadian IP Holdings Corporation. Burger King®, Whopper® and BK® are trademarks of Burger King Company LLC. Popeyes®, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen® and Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits® are trademarks of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. Firehouse Subs® is a trademark of FRG, LLC. Unless the context otherwise requires, all references to “we”, “us”, “our” and “Company” refer to Restaurant Brands International Inc. and its subsidiaries.

2

Table of Contents
Explanatory Note
We are the sole general partner of Restaurant Brands International Limited Partnership (“Partnership”), which is the indirect parent of The TDL Group Corp. (“TDL”), Burger King Company LLC (“BKC”), Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. (“PLKI”) and FRG, LLC (“FRG”). As a result of our controlling interest, we consolidate the financial results of Partnership and record a noncontrolling interest for the portion of Partnership we do not own in our consolidated financial statements. Net income (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests on the consolidated statements of operations presents the portion of earnings or loss attributable to the economic interest in Partnership owned by the holders of the noncontrolling interests. As sole general partner, we manage all of Partnership’s operations and activities in accordance with the partnership agreement of Partnership (the “partnership agreement”). We have established a conflicts committee composed entirely of “independent directors” (as such term is defined in the partnership agreement) in order to consent to, approve or direct various enumerated actions on behalf of the Company (in its capacity as the general partner of Partnership) in accordance with the terms of the partnership agreement.
Each of the Company and Partnership is a reporting issuer in each of the provinces and territories of Canada and, as a result, is subject to Canadian continuous disclosure and other reporting obligations under applicable Canadian securities laws. This Annual Report on Form 10-K constitutes the Company’s Annual Information Form for purposes of its Canadian continuous disclosure obligations under National Instrument 51-102 – Continuous Disclosure Obligations (“NI 51-102”). Pursuant to an application for exemptive relief made in accordance with National Policy 11-203 – Process for Exemptive Relief Applications in Multiple Jurisdictions, Partnership has received exemptive relief dated October 31, 2014 from the Canadian securities regulators. This exemptive relief exempts Partnership from the continuous disclosure requirements of NI 51-102, effectively allowing Partnership to satisfy its Canadian continuous disclosure obligations by relying on the Canadian continuous disclosure documents filed by the Company, for so long as certain conditions are satisfied. Among these conditions is a requirement that Partnership concurrently send to all holders of the Partnership exchangeable units all disclosure materials that the Company sends to its shareholders and a requirement that Partnership separately report all material changes in respect of Partnership that are not also material changes in respect of the Company.
Unless the context otherwise requires, all references in this section to “RBI”, the “Company”, “we”, “us” or “our” are to Restaurant Brands International Inc. and its subsidiaries, collectively and all references in this section to “Partnership” are to Restaurant Brands International Limited Partnership and its subsidiaries, collectively.
All references to “$” or “dollars” in this report are to the currency of the United States unless otherwise indicated. All references to “Canadian dollars” or “C$” are to the currency of Canada unless otherwise indicated.

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Part I
Item 1. Business
Company Overview
We are a Canadian corporation that serves as the indirect holding company for the entities that own and franchise the Tim Hortons®, Burger King®, Popeyes® and Firehouse Subs® brands. We are one of the world’s largest quick service restaurant (“QSR”) companies with over $40 billion in annual system-wide sales and more than 30,000 restaurants in more than 120 countries and territories as of December 31, 2023. Our four iconic brands have complementary daypart mixes and product platforms that benefit from global scale and sharing of best practices. As of December 31, 2023, nearly all of the total restaurants for each of our brands were franchised and references to “our restaurant” or “system-wide restaurants” include franchised restaurants and those owned by us (“Company restaurants”).
Brand Overview
The following is a summary of our brands as of and for the year ended December 31, 2023:
Number of Restaurants
BrandU.S. and CanadaInternationalGlobalNumber of Countries and TerritoriesGlobal System Wide Sales
($ in millions)
Tim Hortons4,525 1,308 5,833 19 $7,845 
Burger King7,144 12,240 19,384 125 $27,019 
Popeyes3,394 1,177 4,571 40 $6,813 
Firehouse Subs1,265 17 1,282 $1,209 
Consolidated16,328 14,742 31,070 $42,886 
Our Tim Hortons® Brand
Founded in 1964, Tim Hortons is one of the largest donut/coffee/tea restaurant chains in North America and the largest in Canada as measured by total number of restaurants. Tim Hortons restaurants are quick service restaurants with a menu that includes premium blend coffee, tea, espresso-based hot and cold specialty drinks, fresh baked goods, including donuts, Timbits®, bagels, muffins, cookies and pastries, sandwiches, wraps, soups and more.
Our Burger King® Brand
Founded in 1954, Burger King is the world’s second largest fast food hamburger restaurant chain, as measured by total number of restaurants, and is the Home of the Whopper®. Burger King restaurants are quick service restaurants that feature flame-grilled hamburgers, chicken and other specialty sandwiches, french fries, soft drinks and other food items.
Our Popeyes® Brand
Founded in 1972, Popeyes is the world’s second largest quick service chicken concept as measured by total number of restaurants. Popeyes restaurants are quick service restaurants that distinguish themselves with a unique “Louisiana” style menu featuring fried chicken, chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, wings, fried shrimp and other seafood, red beans and rice and other regional items.
Our Firehouse Subs® Brand
Founded in 1994, Firehouse Subs is a brand built on decades of culture rooted in public service and a leading player in the quick service restaurants sandwich category in North America. Firehouse Subs restaurants are quick service restaurants featuring hot and hearty subs piled high with quality meats and cheese as well as chopped salads, chili and soups, signature and other sides, soft drinks and local specialties.
Operating Segments
Beginning with the fourth quarter of 2023, we are reporting results under five operating and reportable segments. This shift in reportable segments reflects how RBI's leadership oversees and manages the business. As a result of this change, our five operating and reportable segments consist of each of our brands’ operations in the U.S. and Canada, (1) TH, (2) BK, (3) PLK, and (4) FHS and a fifth segment, INTL which includes consolidated results from each brands’ international operations outside of the U.S. and Canada.
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Additional financial information about our reportable segments can be found in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and Note 17, “Segment Reporting and Geographic Information,” to the accompanying consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”
Sources of Revenue
We generate revenues from the following sources: (i) sales, consisting primarily of (1) Tim Hortons supply chain sales, which represent sales of products, supplies and restaurant equipment to franchisees, as well as sales of consumer packaged goods (“CPG”), and (2) sales at Company restaurants; (ii) franchise revenues, consisting primarily of royalties based on a percentage of sales reported by franchised restaurants and franchise fees paid by franchisees; (iii) property revenues from properties we lease or sublease to franchisees; and (iv) advertising revenues and other services, consisting primarily of (1) advertising fund contributions based on a percentage of sales reported by franchised restaurants to fund advertising expenses and (2) tech fees and revenues that vary by market and partially offset expenses related to technology initiatives.
For the year ended December 31, 2023, the primary revenues for each segment were:

Segment
Sales
Franchise Revenues
Property Revenues
Advertising and Other Revenues
TH
Supply chain and CPG
Royalties and franchise fees
Rental income on ~75% restaurants
Ad fund
BK
Company restaurants
Rental income on ~20% restaurants
Ad fund and tech fee
PLK
Rental income on <3% restaurants
FHS
None
Ad fund
INTL
None
Not meaningful
Ad fund and tech revenue
Our Business Strategy
We believe that we have created a financially strong company built upon a foundation of four thriving, independent brands with significant global growth potential. As one of the leading franchised QSR operators in the world, we are focused on delivering quality, service and convenience through the following strategies:
consistently serving quality food and beverages;
enhancing guest service and experience at our restaurants through comprehensive training, improved restaurant operations, reimaged restaurants and appealing menu options;
increasing restaurant sales and profitability which are critical to the success of our franchisees and our ability to grow our brands around the world;
strengthening drive-thru and delivery channels to provide guests convenient access to our product offerings;
utilizing technological and digital initiatives, including loyalty programs, to interact with our guests and modernize the operations of our restaurants;
accelerating net restaurant growth;
efficiently managing costs and sharing best practices; and
preserving the rich heritage of each of our brands by managing them and their respective franchisee relationships independently and continuing to play a prominent role in local communities.
We believe that accelerating sales growth and driving franchisee profitability is critical to the success of our franchisees and our ability to grow our brands around the world. In furtherance of Burger King's Reclaim the Flame plan, we have recently reached an agreement to acquire the remaining equity interests of our largest U.S. Burger King franchisee, Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Carrols”). Upon completion of this acquisition, which is expected to occur in the second quarter of 2024, we will acquire approximately 1,020 Burger King restaurants and approximately 60 Popeyes restaurants. We expect to accelerate Carrols' current rate of remodels to bring the acquired portfolio to modern image over the next five years. In addition, we have recently acquired approximately 125 Burger King restaurants unrelated to the acquisition of Carrols, 38 of which were acquired in January 2024. Once remodeled, we expect to refranchise the majority of the acquired restaurants with motivated, local franchisees who will continue to enhance the guest service experience. While we expect to complete the refranchising in five to seven years after the acquisition, BK
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intends to maintain a Company restaurant portfolio of 200 to 300 restaurants for strategic innovation, training, and operator development purposes.
Restaurant Development
We track our development targets through net restaurant growth (“NRG”) which refers to the net change in restaurant count (openings, net of permanent closures) over a trailing twelve-month period, divided by the restaurant count at the beginning of the trailing twelve-month period. In determining whether a restaurant meets our definition of a restaurant that will be included in our NRG, we consider factors such as scope of operations, format and image, separate franchise agreement, and minimum sales thresholds. We refer to restaurants that do not meet our definition as “alternative formats.” These alternative formats are helpful to build brand awareness, test new concepts and provide convenience in certain markets. In addition to the restaurants included in our restaurant count, as of December 31, 2023 we had 342 alternative format units open, which primarily include TH self-serves and Tims Express outlets in China.
As part of our development approach for our brands in the U.S., we have granted limited development rights in specific areas to franchisees in connection with area development agreements. We expect to enter into similar arrangements in 2024 and beyond. In Canada, we have not granted exclusive or protected areas to Burger King or Tim Hortons franchisees, with limited exceptions.
As part of our international growth strategy for each of our brands, we have established master franchise and development agreements in a number of markets. We have also created strategic master franchise joint ventures in certain markets which we received a meaningful minority equity stake in each joint venture. We will continue to evaluate opportunities to accelerate international development of all our brands, including through the establishment of master franchises granting exclusive development rights and joint ventures with new and existing franchisees.
Franchise Agreements and Other Arrangements
General. We grant franchisees the right to operate restaurants using our trademarks, trade dress and other intellectual property, uniform operating procedures, consistent quality of products and services and standard procedures for inventory control and management. For each franchised restaurant, we generally enter into a franchise agreement covering a standard set of terms and conditions. Recurring fees consist of periodic royalty and advertising payments. Franchisees report gross sales on a monthly or weekly basis and pay royalties based on gross sales.
Franchise agreements are generally not assignable without our consent. Our franchise agreements in the TH segment grant us the right to reacquire a restaurant under certain circumstances, while franchise agreements in our BK, PLK and FHS segments generally provide us a right of first refusal if a franchisee proposes to sell a restaurant. Defaults (including non-payment of royalties or advertising contributions, or failure to operate in compliance with our standards) can lead to termination of the franchise agreement.
U.S. and Canada 
TH - Tim Hortons franchisees in the U.S. and Canada operate under several types of license agreements, with a typical term for a standard restaurant of 10 years plus renewal period(s) of 10 years in the aggregate for Canada and a typical term of 20 years for the U.S. Tim Hortons franchisees who lease land and/or buildings from us typically pay a royalty of 3.0% to 4.5% of weekly restaurant gross sales. Our license agreements contemplate a one-time franchise fee which must be paid in full before the restaurant opens for business and upon the grant of an additional term. Under a separate lease or sublease, Tim Hortons franchisees typically pay monthly rent based on the greater of a fixed monthly payment and contingent rental payments based on a percentage (usually 8.5% to 10.0%) of monthly gross sales or flow through monthly rent based on the terms of an underlying lease. Where the franchisee owns the premises, leases it from a third party or enters into a flow through lease with Tim Hortons, the royalty is typically increased. In addition, the royalty rates under license agreements entered into in connection with non-standard restaurants, including self-serve kiosks and strategic alliances with third parties, may vary from those described above and are negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
BK - The typical Burger King franchise agreement in the U.S. and Canada has a 20-year term, which contemplates a one-time franchise fee plus an additional fee upon renewal. Subject to the incentive programs described below, most new Burger King franchised restaurants pay a royalty on gross sales of 4.5%. Burger King franchise agreements typically provide for a 20-year renewal term. In addition, Burger King franchisees pay a technology fee on all digital sales through our proprietary technology.
In an effort to improve the image of our BK restaurants in the U.S., we offered U.S. franchisees matching funds with respect to certain restaurant upgrades and remodels. These franchisees can elect to pay an increased royalty rate in order to receive a higher level of matching funds. We plan to continue to offer remodel incentives to U.S. franchisees during 2024. These limited-term incentive programs are expected to negatively impact our cash flow in the early years while in effect but increase the royalty rate for a period following the remodel. However, we expect this impact to be partially mitigated as incentive programs granted in prior years that provided reductions to royalty and advertising rates expire.
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PLK - The typical Popeyes franchise agreement in the U.S. and Canada has a 20-year term, which contemplates a one-time franchise fee plus an additional fee upon renewal. Subject to the incentive programs described below, most Popeyes restaurants pay a royalty on gross sales of 5.0%. Popeyes franchise agreements typically provide for two 10-year renewal terms. In addition, Popeyes franchisees pay a technology fee on all digital sales through our proprietary technology.
For Popeyes, we offer development incentive programs pursuant to which we encourage veterans, women and minorities to become Popeyes franchisees and programs for these franchisees and existing top operators to develop and open new restaurants.
FHS - The typical Firehouse Subs franchise agreement has a 10-year term. Subject to the incentive programs described below, most Firehouse restaurants in the U.S. and Canada pay a royalty on gross sales of 6.0%. Firehouse Subs franchise agreements typically provide for either one 10-year renewal term or four 5-year renewal terms. In addition, Firehouse Subs franchisees pay an annual per restaurant information system fee, and starting in 2024, a technology fee for digital transactions.
For Firehouse Subs franchisees, we offer limited-term royalty reductions in connection with commitments to develop additional restaurants in specified territories and now offer incentive programs with matching funds for existing franchisees as well as for first responders and veterans to become Firehouse franchisees.
International
As part of the international growth strategy for each of our brands, we have entered into master franchise agreements or development agreements that grant franchisees exclusive or non-exclusive development rights and, in some cases, allow them to sub-franchise or require them to provide support services to other franchisees in their markets. In 2023, we entered into master franchise agreements for the Popeyes brand in China and Romania, for the Tim Hortons brand in South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia, for the Firehouse Subs brand in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, and for the Burger King brand in Reunion Island, and development agreements for the Popeyes brand in Kuwait, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, for the Tim Hortons brand in Panama, for the Firehouse Subs brand in Mexico, Albania and Kosovo, and for the Burger King brand in Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Bulgaria, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The franchise fees, royalty rate and advertising contributions paid by master franchisees or developers vary from country to country, depending on the facts and circumstances of each market. We expect to continue implementing similar arrangements for our brands in 2024 and beyond.
Franchise Restaurant Leases
We leased or subleased to franchisees 3,541 properties in our TH segment, 1,299 properties in our BK segment, 93 properties in our PLK segment and 8 properties in our INTL segment as of December 31, 2023 pursuant to separate lease agreements with these franchisees. For properties that we lease from third-party landlords and sublease to franchisees, our leases generally provide for fixed rental payments and may provide for contingent rental payments based on a restaurant’s annual gross sales. Franchisees who lease land only or land and building from us do so on a “triple net” basis. Under these triple net leases, the franchisee is obligated to pay all costs and expenses, including all real property taxes and assessments, repairs and maintenance and insurance. In many cases, we will contribute toward the cost of remodels with the franchisees in connection with extensions of the underlying lease.
Advertising and Promotions
In general, franchisees fund substantially all of the marketing programs for each of our brands by making contributions ranging from 2.0% to 5.0% of gross sales to advertising funds managed by us or by the franchisees. Advertising contributions are used to pay for expenses relating to marketing, advertising and promotion, including market research, production, advertising costs, sales promotions, social media campaigns, technology initiatives and other support functions for the respective brands. As part of our global marketing strategy, we provide franchisees with advertising support and guidance in order to deliver a consistent global brand message.
U.S. and Canada - We manage the advertising funds for each of our brands in the U.S. and Canada. In 2021, we spent C$80 million to support TH Canada advertising expenses. In September 2022, we announced our intention to pay $120 million of BK US advertising expenses over approximately two years, of which we have spent $62 million through December 31, 2023.
INTL - While we manage the advertising funds in a few select markets for Burger King, Popeyes and Firehouse Subs in the INTL segment, in most international markets, including the markets managed by master franchisees, franchisees make contributions into franchisee-managed advertising funds.
Product Development
New product development is a key driver of the long-term success of our brands. We believe the development of new products can drive traffic by expanding our customer base, allowing restaurants to expand into new dayparts, and continuing to build brand leadership in food quality and taste. Based on guest feedback, we drive product innovation in order to satisfy the needs of our guests around the world. This strategy will continue to be a focus in 2024 and beyond.
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Operations Support
Our operations strategy is designed to deliver best-in-class restaurant operations by our franchisees and to improve friendliness, cleanliness, speed of service and overall guest satisfaction. Each of our brands has uniform operating standards and specifications relating to product quality, cleanliness and maintenance of the premises. In addition, our restaurants are required to be operated in accordance with quality assurance and health standards that each brand has established, as well as standards set by applicable governmental laws and regulations and applicable health authority guidelines. Each franchisee typically participates in initial and ongoing training programs to learn all aspects of operating a restaurant in accordance with each brand’s operating standards.
Manufacturing, Supply and Distribution
In general, we approve the manufacturers of the food, packaging, equipment and other products used in restaurants for each of our brands. We have a comprehensive supplier approval process, which requires all food and packaging products to pass our quality standards and the suppliers’ manufacturing process and facilities to pass on-site food safety inspections. Our franchisees are required to purchase substantially all food and other products from approved suppliers and distributors.
U.S. and Canada
TH - Tim Hortons products, in Canada and the U.S., are sourced from a combination of third-party suppliers and our own manufacturing facilities. To protect our proprietary blends, we operate two coffee roasting facilities in Ancaster, Ontario and Rochester, New York, where we primarily roast the majority of the coffee for our Tim Hortons restaurants and blend the beans for our take home, packaged coffee. We utilize third-party roasting or manufacturing facilities for certain other take home products and international markets. Our fondant and fills manufacturing facility in Oakville, Ontario produces, and is the primary supplier of, the ready-to-use glaze, fondants, fills and syrups which are used in a number of Tim Hortons products. As of December 31, 2023, we typically have only one or a few suppliers to service each category of products sold at our restaurants.
We sell most raw materials and supplies, including coffee, sugar, paper goods and other restaurant supplies, to Tim Hortons restaurants. We purchase each type of those raw materials from a few suppliers and generally have alternative sources of supply for each. While we have multiple suppliers for green coffee from various coffee-producing regions, the available supply and price for high-quality coffee beans can fluctuate significantly. Accordingly, we monitor world market conditions for green (unroasted) coffee and contract for future supply volumes to obtain expected requirements of high-quality coffee beans at acceptable prices.
Our TH segment also includes significant supply chain operations, including procurement, warehousing and distribution, to supply paper, dry goods, frozen goods and refrigerated products to a substantial majority of our Canadian restaurants. We act as a distributor to Tim Hortons restaurants in Canada through nine distribution centers located in Canada, of which five are company-owned. We own or lease a significant number of trucks and trailers that regularly deliver to most of our Canadian restaurants. In the U.S., we supply similar products to restaurants through third-party distributors.
BK, PLK, FHS - All of the products used in our BK, PLK and FHS restaurants are sourced from third-party suppliers. In the U.S. and Canada, there are purchasing cooperatives for each of BK and PLK that negotiate the purchase terms for most equipment, food, beverages (other than branded soft drinks which we negotiate separately under long-term agreements) and other products used in BK and PLK restaurants. Additionally, some suppliers pay us rebates based on items purchased by franchisees. The purchasing cooperative is also authorized to manage distribution services on behalf of most of the BK and PLK restaurants in the U.S. and Canada. PLK also utilizes exclusive suppliers for certain of its proprietary products. As of December 31, 2023, four distributors serviced approximately 92% of BK restaurants in the U.S., five distributors serviced approximately 85% of PLK restaurants in the U.S. and five distributors serviced approximately 100% of the FHS restaurants in the U.S.
In 2023, Burger King entered into a new long-term exclusive contract with The Coca-Cola Company to supply BK restaurants with their products for ten years. The contract retains the remaining volume obligation under the prior agreement for restaurants in the U.S. to purchase a specified number of gallons of soft drink syrup. Burger King also has a volume commitment agreement with Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Inc. As of December 31, 2023, we estimate that it will take approximately four years to complete the Coca-Cola purchase commitment and approximately eight years to complete the Dr Pepper/Snapple, Inc. purchase commitment. If these agreements were terminated, we would be obligated to pay an aggregate amount equal to approximately $230 million as of December 31, 2023 based on an amount per gallon for each gallon of soft drink syrup remaining in the purchase commitments, interest and certain other costs.
INTL - In general, the products used in our INTL restaurants are sourced from third-party suppliers and to a lesser extent from our TH manufacturing facilities. In those markets in which we have master franchise agreements, the master franchisee is responsible for selecting the suppliers and negotiating price, subject to approval of one of our regional quality assurance or other applicable marketing or operations teams. In other INTL markets, franchisees can make their own purchasing decisions from an approved supplier list which has been vetted by the relevant regional quality assurance or applicable marketing or operations team. We
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encourage our INTL franchisees to source products from local suppliers that are approved by us and we work with franchisees to approve potential suppliers in their local markets.
Intellectual Property
We own valuable intellectual property relating to our brands, including trademarks, service marks, patents, industrial designs, copyrights, trade secrets and other proprietary information, some of which are of material importance to our Tim Hortons, Burger King, Popeyes and Firehouse Subs brands. The duration of trademarks and service marks varies by country, however, trademarks and service marks generally are valid and may be renewed as long as they are in use and/or properly registered. We have established the standards and specifications for most of the goods and services used in the development, improvement and operation of our restaurants. These proprietary standards, specifications and restaurant operating procedures are our trade secrets. Additionally, we own certain patents and industrial designs of varying duration relating to equipment and/or packaging used in Burger King and Tim Hortons restaurants.
Information Systems and Digital Technology
Our corporate financial, human resources and similar systems are fully integrated and provide a solid foundation for our business. Franchisees may utilize point-of-sale software provided by approved third-party vendors. Depending on the region, these vendors may also offer labor scheduling, inventory, production management, cash control services, and other services. We have an architecture that enables us to build custom customer-facing applications and integrate them with our third-party providers, to support mobile ordering, web ordering, and kiosks. As of the end of 2023, we have deployed this architecture in the U.S., Canada, and several international jurisdictions, and we plan to deploy it to additional markets in the future.
We have expanded our digital technologies and the use of our mobile apps continues to increase. We provide digital loyalty programs across TH, BK, PLK, and FHS and have digital loyalty programs in many of our INTL markets. In addition, we offer our guests added convenience through third-party and white label delivery at many of our restaurants. Further, we are continuing to modernize the drive-thru experience and we plan to leverage our technology capabilities to continue to expand the choices for how customers order, pay for and receive their food.
Although many of our systems are provided through third parties, we have the ability to obtain data from most of our franchised restaurants and from Company restaurants, which allows us to assess how our new and existing products are performing around the world. Additionally, we have been investing to upgrade our supply chain systems and improve efficiency. We expect to continue to invest in technology capabilities to support and drive our business.
Competition
Each of our brands competes in the U.S., Canada and internationally with many well-established food service companies on the basis of product choice, quality, affordability, service and location. With few barriers to entry to the restaurant industry, our competitors include a variety of independent local operators, in addition to well-capitalized regional, national and international restaurant chains and franchises, and new competitors may emerge at any time. We also compete for consumer dining dollars with national, regional and local (i) quick service restaurants that offer alternative menus, (ii) casual and “fast casual” restaurant chains, (iii) convenience stores and grocery stores, and (iv) new concepts, such as virtual brands. Furthermore, delivery aggregators and other food delivery services provide consumers with convenient access to a broad range of competing restaurant chains and food retailers, particularly in urban areas.
Government Regulations and Affairs
General. We and our franchisees are subject to various laws and regulations including (i) licensing and regulation relating to health, food preparation, sanitation and safety standards, sustainability, and, for our distribution business, traffic and transportation regulations; (ii) information security, privacy and consumer protection laws; and (iii) other laws regulating the design, accessibility and operation of facilities, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and similar Canadian federal and provincial legislation that can have a significant impact on our franchisees and our performance. These regulations include food safety regulations, including supervision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and its international equivalents, which govern the manufacture, labeling, packaging, traceability and safety of food. In addition, we are or may become subject to legislation or regulation seeking to tax and/or regulate high-fat, high-calorie and high-sodium foods, particularly in Canada, the U.S., certain European countries and other markets around the world. Certain countries, provinces, states and municipalities have approved menu labeling legislation that requires restaurant chains to provide caloric information on menu boards, and menu labeling legislation has also been adopted on the U.S. federal level as well as in Ontario.
U.S. and Canada. Our restaurants must comply with licensing requirements and regulations by a number of governmental authorities, which include zoning, health, safety, sanitation, building and fire agencies in the jurisdiction in which the restaurant is located. We and our franchisees are also subject to various employment laws, including laws governing union organizing, working
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conditions, work authorization requirements, health insurance, overtime and wages and efforts are currently underway to strengthen these laws in favor of the employee. In addition, we and our U.S. franchisees are subject to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
We are subject to federal franchising laws adopted by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) and state and provincial franchising laws. Much of the legislation and rules adopted have been aimed at providing detailed disclosure to a prospective franchisee, duties of good faith as between the franchisor and the franchisee, and/or periodic registration by the franchisor with applicable regulatory agencies. Additionally, some U.S. states have enacted or are considering enacting legislation that governs the termination or non-renewal of a franchise agreement and other aspects of the franchise relationship.
International. Internationally, we and our franchisees are subject to national and local laws and regulations that often are similar in nature to those affecting us and our franchisees in the U.S. and Canada. We and our franchisees are also subject to a variety of tariffs and regulations on imported commodities and equipment, and laws regulating foreign investment.
Environmental. Various laws concerning the handling, storage and disposal of hazardous materials and restaurant waste and the operation of restaurants in environmentally sensitive locations may impact aspects of our operations and the operations of our franchisees; however, we do not believe that compliance with applicable environmental regulations will have a material effect on our capital expenditures, financial condition, results of operations, or competitive position. Increased focus by U.S., Canadian and international governmental authorities on environmental matters is likely to lead to new governmental initiatives, particularly in the area of climate change. While we cannot predict the precise nature of these initiatives, we expect that they may impact our business both directly and indirectly. There is a possibility that government initiatives, or actual or perceived effect of changes in weather patterns, climate or water resources could have a direct impact on the operations of our brands in ways that we cannot predict at this time.
Sustainability
We are committed to the simple principle of doing what’s right. Our “Restaurant Brands for Good” plan provides a framework for serving our guests the food and drinks they love while contributing to a sustainable future and having a positive social impact in the communities we serve. Our ongoing efforts will focus on three key pillars:
Food - serving high quality and great tasting food every day with a focus on food safety, improving choice, nutrition, transparency, and ingredients;
Planet - continuing to reduce our environmental footprint, with a focus on packaging and recycling, green buildings, and responsible sourcing; and
People & Communities - supporting communities and enhancing livelihoods, with a focus on supporting communities, talent development, diversity and inclusion, ethics and human rights, and improving supplier livelihoods.
We have adopted science based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, and are committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Starting in 2024, we will be changing our base year from 2019 to 2022, to reflect emissions from Firehouse Subs, which we acquired in December 2021, and an improved calculation methodology. While most of the impact is from scope 3 emissions that are not under our direct control, reaching these targets will require us to devote resources to support changes by suppliers, manufacturers, raw material sourcing, distributors, and franchisees.
The sustainability section of our corporate website sets forth our initiatives with respect to these pillars and will be updated periodically but is not incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Seasonal Operations
Our restaurant sales are typically higher in the spring and summer months when the weather is warmer and typically lowest during the winter months. Furthermore, adverse weather conditions can have material adverse effects on restaurant sales. The timing of holidays may also impact restaurant sales. Because our businesses are moderately seasonal, results for any one quarter are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be achieved for any other quarter or for the full fiscal year.
Human Capital
As of December 31, 2023, we had approximately 9,000 employees, including approximately 2,200 corporate employees in our restaurant support centers and serving our franchisees from the field, approximately 1,300 employees in our distribution centers and manufacturing facilities, and approximately 5,500 employees in Company restaurants. Our franchisees are independent business owners that separately employ more than 500,000 team members in their restaurants.
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We strive to create a workplace environment where our employees love coming to work each day; a place that is committed to inclusion, respect, accountability and doing what is right. While our board regularly receives updates from our people team, the compensation committee has oversight of our compensation program and the audit committee has been tasked with oversight of workforce management risks. Our people team is organized into four pillars that focus on attracting, retaining, developing and rewarding top talent.
The cycle starts with attracting talent from campus and professional sources, leveraging technology to identify and assess candidates who best fit our roles. As part of our hiring process, we have committed that at least half of all final-round candidates interviewing for roles with our four RBI restaurant support centers will be from groups that are demonstrably diverse, including gender, race and sexual orientation, based on the composition and requirements of the applicable jurisdiction. Since our commitment, we have meaningfully exceeded that target, leading to an increase in diverse hires. In 2023, RBI hired approximately 500 new corporate employees, 7,000 new restaurant employees, and 400 new distribution and manufacturing employees. Each population segment has a dedicated onboarding program designed to get employees up to speed quickly, and foster a smooth transition into the workplace.
Our retention efforts focus on work environment, employee engagement and our diversity and inclusion initiatives. We regularly conduct anonymous surveys to seek feedback from our restaurant support center and field employees on a variety of topics, including our sustainability and diversity initiatives, flexible work policies, the support they receive from their managers, and the types of learning and development opportunities they would like to have offered. Our executive Steering Committee monitors progress across key indicators such as representation, engagement, and retention to guide strategies for promoting diversity and inclusion. To ensure that the work of the Steering Committee is fully integrated, we have dedicated team members within the people and legal teams to implement initiatives in this space. These initiatives include company-wide implicit bias training, internal events featuring eminent speakers, and sponsorship and mentorship opportunities for identity-based groups. We also leverage designated subject matter experts across each of our brands to ensure accountability and consistent execution of priorities company-wide with regards to marketing, suppliers, franchisees, and community engagement.
Developing talent includes evaluation, training, career planning and leadership development. We have a rigorous talent assessment process for restaurant support center and field employees built on specific competencies that we assess at both the employee and job level. This data allows us to more easily identify potential successors and illuminate potential opportunities for our employees in a more objective and unbiased way. Additionally, to help our employees and franchisee’s team members succeed in their roles, we emphasize continuous training and development opportunities and have a formal mentoring program that connects employees from our restaurant support centers around the world to facilitate career growth and development opportunities. These include, but are not limited to, safety and security protocols, updates on new products and service offerings and deployment of technologies. In 2023, we conducted management and leadership training, including problem solving, feedback sessions, data analysis and spot learning opportunities to address specific business needs. We also brought back our brand service days, which allow corporate employees to work in our restaurants in a structured way that enables a better link between the corporate decisions we make and the operational deployment of them at the restaurant level.
Our approach to rewarding talent is through a combination of compensation, recognition, and wellness benefits. We are committed to providing market-competitive pay and benefits, affirming our pay for performance philosophy while balancing retention risk. Restaurant support center and distribution employees are eligible for performance-based cash incentive programs. Each incentive plan reinforces and rewards individuals for achievement of specific business goals. All employees are also able to access telemedicine with no copay, as well as a 24/7 Employee Assistance Program. For corporate office and field-based employees, we offer a leading parental leave policy.
Underpinning all of these initiatives is a strong reliance on data. We leverage our people analytics team and human capital management system to assess our achievements in each of our four pillars to identify areas for improvement. A team of experienced people business partners work closely with their client groups to provide counsel on people issues and help roll out people initiatives directly to employees.
While much of the work mentioned above relates to our corporate workforce, we also have adopted employee guidelines and policies applicable to our restaurant employees and encourage our franchisees to adopt similar guidelines and policies.
Philanthropic Foundations
RBI is committed to strengthening and giving back to the communities we serve through our brand foundations and by supporting local programs and issues that are close to our guests’ hearts. Our philanthropic foundations include:
Tim Hortons Foundation Camps and Smile Cookie Initiative: Created in 1974, Tim Hortons Foundation Camps are helping youth aged 12-16 from disadvantaged circumstances discover the strengths within themselves. Through December 31, 2023, the Tim Hortons Foundation’s annual Camp Day has sent hundreds of thousands of youth to a multi-year camp-based program at one of seven Tims Camps in Canada and the U.S. In addition, the Tim Hortons annual Smile Cookie initiative is empowering restaurant owners to
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sell special Smile Cookies for a full week and donate 100% of the proceeds to the charities they select. Since the first-ever Smile Cookie campaign in 1996, this charitable campaign has raised millions of dollars for local charities, hospitals, and community programs.
The Burger King Foundation: Established in 2005, the Burger King Foundation creates brighter futures by empowering individuals and feeding potential through education and emergency relief. Since its inception, hundreds of thousands of children and families have been supported through educational programs and employee emergency relief grants, with the Burger King Scholars Program awarding millions in scholarship funds alone.
The Popeyes Foundation: The mission of the Popeyes Foundation is to strengthen communities with food and support in times of need. The Popeyes Foundation contributes to communities through third-party initiatives and, since 2018, has provided millions of meals to children in local communities. The Foundation additionally supports the Popeyes family directly through the Popeyes Foundation Family Fund. This fund supports U.S. employees who may be victims of natural disasters or other emergency hardship situations.
Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation: Both the U.S. and Canadian foundations are committed to supporting public safety in our communities through funding in four distinct areas: providing lifesaving equipment to first responders, delivering prevention education to promote safety, offering scholarships for careers in public safety, and providing disaster relief assistance. We strive to make a tangible impact in the communities we serve by supporting and empowering the heroes who work so tirelessly to keep us safe.
Available Information
We make available free of charge on or through the Investor Relations section of our internet website at www.rbi.com, all materials that we file electronically with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including this Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after electronically filing or furnishing such material with the SEC and with the Canadian Securities Administrators. This information is also available at www.sec.gov, an internet site maintained by the SEC that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC, and on SEDAR+ at www.sedarplus.ca, a website maintained by the Canadian Securities Administrators. The references to our website address, the SEC’s website address and the website maintained by the Canadian Securities Administrators do not constitute incorporation by reference of the information contained in these websites and should be not considered part of this document.
A copy of our Corporate Governance Guidelines, Code of Business Ethics and Conduct for Non-Restaurant Employees, Code of Ethics for Executive Officers, Code of Conduct for Directors and the Charters of the Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, and Conflicts Committee of our board of directors are posted in the Investor Relations section of our website at www.rbi.com.
Our principal executive offices are located at 130 King Street West, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario M5X 1E1, Canada. Our telephone number is (905) 339-6011.
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Item 1A. Risk Factors
Risks Related to Our Business Operations
We face intense competition in our markets, which could negatively impact our business.
The restaurant industry is intensely competitive and we compete with many well-established food service companies on the basis of product choice, quality, affordability, service and location. With few barriers to entry, our competitors include a variety of independent local operators, in addition to well-capitalized regional, national and international restaurant chains and franchises, and new competitors may emerge at any time. Furthermore, delivery aggregators and food delivery services provide consumers with convenient access to a broad range of competing restaurant chains and food retailers, particularly in urbanized areas, and may form a closer relationship with our customers and increase costs to us. Each of our brands also competes for qualified franchisees, suitable restaurant locations and management and personnel.
Our ability to compete will depend on the success of our plans to effectively respond to consumer preferences, improve existing products, develop and roll-out new products, and manage the complexity of restaurant operations as well as the impact of our competitors’ actions. In addition, our long-term success will depend on our ability to strengthen our customers' digital experience through mobile ordering, delivery, kiosks, loyalty programs, and social interaction. Some of our competitors have substantially greater financial resources, higher revenues and greater economies of scale than we do. These advantages may allow them to implement their operational strategies more quickly or effectively than we can or benefit from changes in technologies, which could harm our competitive position. These competitive advantages may be exacerbated in a difficult economy, thereby permitting our competitors to gain market share. We may be unable to successfully respond to changing consumer preferences, including with respect to new technologies and alternative methods of delivery. In addition, online platforms and aggregators may direct potential customers to other options based on paid placements, online reviews or other factors. If we are unable to maintain our competitive position, we could experience lower demand for products, downward pressure on prices, reduced margins, an inability to take advantage of new business opportunities, a loss of market share, reduced franchisee profitability and an inability to attract qualified franchisees in the future.
Failure to preserve the value and relevance of our brands could negatively impact our financial results.
We depend in large part on the value of the Tim Hortons, Burger King, Popeyes and Firehouse Subs brands. To be successful in the future, we must preserve, enhance and leverage the value of our brands. Brand value is based in part on consumer tastes, preferences and perceptions on a variety of factors, including the nutritional content, methods of production and preparation of our products and our business practices, including with respect to animal welfare, natural resources, sustainability and other environmental or social concerns. Consumer acceptance of our products may be influenced by or subject to change for a variety of reasons. For example, adverse publicity associated with nutritional, health and other scientific studies and conclusions, which constantly evolve and often have contradictory implications, may drive popular opinion against quick service restaurants in general, which may impact the demand for our products. Moreover, health campaigns against products we offer in favor of foods that are perceived as healthier may affect consumer perception of our product offerings and impact the value of our brands.
In addition, adverse publicity related to litigation, regulation (including initiatives intended to drive consumer behavior) or incidents involving us, our franchisees, competitors or suppliers may impact the value of our brands by discouraging customers from buying our products. Perceptions may also be affected by activist campaigns to promote adverse perceptions of the quick service restaurant industry or our brands and/or our operations, suppliers, franchisees or other partners such as campaigns aimed at sustainability or living-wage opinions. Consumer demand for our products and our brand equity could diminish if we, our employees or our franchisees or other business partners fail to preserve the quality of our products, act or are perceived to act as unethical, illegal, racially-biased or in a socially irresponsible manner, including with respect to the sourcing, content or sale of our products or the use of consumer data for general or direct marketing or other purposes, fail to comply with laws and regulations, publicly take controversial positions or actions or fail to deliver a consistently positive consumer experience in each of our markets. If we are unsuccessful in addressing consumer adverse perceptions, our brands and our financial results may suffer.
Economic conditions have and may continue to adversely affect consumer discretionary spending and our business and results.
We believe that our restaurant sales, guest traffic and profitability are strongly correlated to consumer discretionary spending, which is influenced by general economic conditions, unemployment levels, the availability of discretionary income, inflation, and, ultimately, consumer confidence. A protracted economic slowdown, increased unemployment and underemployment of our customer base, decreased salaries and wage rates, inflation, rising interest rates or other industry-wide cost pressures adversely affect consumer behavior by weakening consumer confidence and decreasing consumer spending for restaurant dining occasions. As a result, we and our franchisees could experience reduced sales and profitability.
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Our results can be adversely affected by unforeseen events, such as adverse weather conditions, natural disasters, war or terrorist attacks, pandemics, or other catastrophic events.
Unforeseen events, such as severe adverse weather conditions, earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters, wars or terrorist attacks, pandemics or catastrophic events, as well as the actions taken in response to these unforeseen events can keep customers in the affected area from dining out, cause damage to or closure of restaurants and result in lost sales for our restaurants. For example, measures implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19 adversely affected workforces, customers, consumer sentiment, supply chains, economies and financial markets, and, along with decreased consumer spending, led to an economic downturn and increased inflation in many of our markets. In addition, actual or threatened armed conflicts, such as the war in Ukraine and conflicts in the Middle East, terrorist attacks, efforts to combat terrorism, or heightened security requirements have and may in the future adversely affect our operations. Because a significant portion of our restaurant operating costs are fixed or semi-fixed in nature, the loss of sales and increases in labor, energy and commodity costs during these periods hurt our and our franchisees’ operating margins and can result in restaurant operating losses and loss of royalties.
Our results depend on effective marketing and advertising, successful new product launches and digital engagement.
Our revenues are heavily influenced by brand marketing and advertising and by our ability to develop and launch new and innovative products. If our marketing and advertising programs are not successful, or we fail to develop commercially successful new products, our ability to attract new guests and retain existing guests and our results of operations could be materially adversely affected. Because franchisees contribute to advertising funds based on a percentage of gross sales at their franchised restaurants, advertising fund expenditures generally are dependent upon restaurant sales volumes. If system-wide sales decline, amounts available for our marketing and advertising programs will be reduced unless we contribute to advertising spend, which could adversely affect our results of operations. Also, to the extent we use value offerings in our marketing and advertising programs to drive traffic, the low price offerings may condition our guests to resist higher prices in a more favorable economic environment.
In addition, we continue to focus on transforming the restaurant experience through technology and digital engagement to improve our service model and strengthen relationships with customers, including through digital channels, loyalty initiatives, mobile ordering and payment systems, social media engagement, and delivery initiatives. If our digital commerce platforms do not meet customers’ expectations in terms of security, privacy, speed, attractiveness or ease of use, customers may be less inclined to return to those platforms, which could negatively impact the same store sales of our brands. Also, utilizing third-party delivery services may not be as profitable as sales directly to our guests and may also introduce food quality and customer satisfaction risks outside of our control. If the third-party delivery services that we utilize cease or curtail their operations, increase their fees or give greater priority or promotions on their platforms to our competitors, our delivery business and our sales may be negatively impacted. The delivery business is also the subject of increased scrutiny from federal, state, and local regulators, which may result in additional costs and expenses that the delivery business may seek to pass through to participating restaurants, including through increased fees.
The global scope of our business subjects us to risks and costs that may cause our profitability to decline.
Our global operations expose us to risks in managing the differing cultural, regulatory, geopolitical and economic environments in the countries where our restaurants operate. These risks, which can vary substantially by market and may increase in importance as each of our brands enter into new markets and our franchisees expand operations in international markets, are described in many of the risk factors discussed in this report and include the following:
governmental laws, regulations and policies adopted to manage national economic conditions, such as increases in taxes, austerity measures that impact consumer spending, monetary policies that may impact inflation rates and currency fluctuations;
the effects of legal and regulatory changes and the burdens and costs of our compliance with a variety of foreign laws;
changes in the laws and policies that govern foreign investment and trade in the countries in which we operate, including the imposition of import restrictions or controls;
compliance with U.S., Canadian and other anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws, including compliance by our employees, contractors, licensees or agents and those of our strategic partners and joint ventures;
risks and costs associated with political and economic instability, corruption, anti-American or anti-Canadian sentiment, boycotts and social and ethnic unrest in the countries in which we operate;
the risks of operating in developing or emerging markets in which there are significant uncertainties regarding the interpretation, application and enforceability of laws, regulations, contract rights and intellectual property rights;
risks arising from the significant and rapid fluctuations in currency exchange markets and the decisions and positions that we take to hedge such volatility;
the impact of labor costs on our franchisees' margins given changing labor conditions and difficulties experienced by our franchisees in staffing their international operations; and
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the effects of increases in the taxes we pay and other changes in applicable tax laws.
The conflicts between Russia and Ukraine and in the Middle East may continue to adversely impact economic conditions in those regions and elsewhere including through decreased demand for brands associated with the U.S. or Canada and/or increased commodity, labor and energy costs, and/or delays or disruptions in supply chains that may adversely affect us and our franchisees’ restaurants.
Our operations are subject to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange and interest rates.
Because our reporting currency is U.S. dollars, our international revenue that is generated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar is translated to U.S. dollars for our financial reporting purposes. These international revenues are impacted by fluctuations in currency exchange rates and changes in currency regulations. In addition, fluctuations in interest rates may affect our business and the availability of financing for franchisees to open more restaurants. Although we attempt to minimize these risks through geographic diversification and the utilization of derivative financial instruments, our risk management strategies may not be effective and our results of operations could be adversely affected.
Increases in food, equipment and commodity costs or shortages or interruptions in supply or delivery thereof could harm our operating results and the results of our franchisees.
The profitability of our franchisees and us depends in part on our ability to anticipate and react to changes in food, equipment, commodity and supply costs. For example, the markets for beef and chicken are subject to significant price fluctuations due to seasonal shifts, climate conditions, the cost of grain, disease, industry demand, international commodity markets, food safety concerns, product recalls, government regulation, labor availability and cost, and other factors, all of which are beyond our control and, in many instances unpredictable. Increases, especially rapid increases, in commodity prices may adversely affect the profitability of our TH supply business and lead to reduced franchisee profitability to the extent prices cannot be proportionately increased without adversely affecting consumer demand. Such increases in commodity costs may materially and adversely affect our business and operating results.
We and our franchisees are dependent on frequent deliveries of fresh food products that meet our specifications. Shortages or interruptions in the supply of fresh food products or equipment caused by unanticipated demand, natural disasters or unforeseen events, such as pandemics, problems in production or distribution, inclement weather, delays or restrictions on shipping and/or manufacturing, closures of supplier or distributor facilities, financial distress or insolvency of suppliers or distributors, or other conditions have and in the future could adversely affect the availability, quality and cost of ingredients and equipment, which could adversely affect our operating results. Burger King and Popeyes restaurants in the U.S. and Canada utilize purchasing cooperatives to negotiate supplier contracts for food and packaging. We do not control these purchasing cooperatives and if they do not properly manage suppliers or cease operations, the relevant supply chain could experience significant disruption. As of December 31, 2023, we have only a few distributors that service most of our Burger King, Popeyes and Firehouse Subs operations in the U.S., and our operations could be adversely affected if any of these distributors were unable to fulfill their responsibilities and we were unable to secure a substitute distributor in a timely manner.
Our supply chain operations subject us to additional risks and may cause our profitability to decline.
We operate a vertically integrated supply chain for our TH business in which we manufacture, warehouse, and distribute certain food and restaurant supplies to Tim Hortons restaurants. Risks associated with this strategy include:
delays and/or difficulties associated with, or liabilities arising from, owning a manufacturing, warehouse and distribution business;
maintenance, operations and/or management of the facilities, equipment, employees and inventories;
limitations on the flexibility of controlling capital expenditures and overhead;
increased transportation, shipping, food and other supply costs;
inclement weather or extreme weather events;
shortages or interruptions in availability or supply of high-quality coffee beans, perishable food products and/or their ingredients;
variations in the quality of food and beverage products and/or their ingredients; and
political, physical, environmental, labor, or technological disruptions (such as from cybersecurity incidents) in our or our suppliers’ manufacturing and/or warehousing plants, facilities, or equipment.
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If we do not adequately address the challenges related to these vertically integrated operations or the overall level of utilization or production decreases for any reason, our results of operations and financial condition may be adversely impacted. Moreover, interruptions in the availability and delivery of food, beverages and other supplies to our restaurants or retailers arising from shortages or greater than expected demand, may increase costs or reduce revenues. As of December 31, 2023, we have only one or a few suppliers to service each category of products sold at our Tim Hortons restaurants in the U.S. and Canada, and the loss of any one of these suppliers would likely adversely affect our business.
We and our franchisees may be unable to secure and renew desirable restaurant locations to maintain and grow our restaurant portfolios.
The success of any restaurant depends in substantial part on its location. Neighborhood or economic conditions where our restaurants are located could decline in the future as demographic patterns change, resulting in potentially reduced sales in those locations. Competition for restaurant locations can also be intense and there may be delays or cancellation of new site developments by developers and landlords or difficulties renewing existing sites, which may be exacerbated by factors related to the commercial real estate or credit markets. If franchisees cannot obtain and renew desirable locations for their restaurants at reasonable prices due to, among other things, higher than anticipated acquisition, construction and/or development costs of new restaurants, difficulty negotiating leases with acceptable terms, onerous land use or zoning restrictions, or challenges in securing required governmental permits, then their ability to execute their respective growth strategies may be adversely affected.
Based on their size advantage and/or their greater financial resources, some of our competitors may have the ability to negotiate more favorable lease terms than we can and some landlords and developers may offer priority or grant exclusivity to some of our competitors for desirable locations. As a result, we or our franchisees may not be able to obtain new leases or renew existing leases on acceptable terms, if at all, which could adversely affect our sales and brand-building initiatives.
Food safety concerns and concerns about the health risk of fast food may adversely affect our business.
Food safety is a top priority for us and we dedicate substantial resources to ensure that our customers enjoy safe, high-quality food products. However, food-borne illnesses and other food safety issues have occurred in the food industry in the past and could occur in the future. Also, our reliance on third-party food suppliers, distributors and food delivery aggregators increases the risk that food-borne illness incidents could be caused by factors outside of our control and that multiple locations would be affected rather than a single restaurant. Any occurrence of food-borne illness or any report or publicity, including through social media, linking us or one of our franchisees or suppliers to instances of food-borne illness or other food safety issues, including food tampering, adulteration or contamination, could require us to temporarily close restaurants, reduce sales and profits and adversely affect our brands and reputation. Such occurrence at restaurants of competitors could adversely affect sales as a result of negative publicity about the industry generally. The occurrence of food-borne illnesses or food safety issues, at our franchisees' restaurants or those of our competitors, could also adversely affect the price and availability of affected ingredients, which could result in disruptions in our supply chain, significantly increase costs and/or lower margins for us and our franchisees.
Some of our products contain caffeine, dairy products, fats, sugar and other compounds and allergens, the health effects of which are the subject of public scrutiny, including suggesting that excessive consumption of these ingredients can lead to a variety of adverse health effects. An unfavorable report on the health effects of any compounds present in our products, or negative publicity or litigation arising from other health risks such as obesity, could significantly reduce the demand for our beverages and food products. A decrease in customer traffic as a result of these health concerns or negative publicity could materially and adversely affect our brands and our business.
Materially increasing the number of restaurants that we operate could expose us to additional risk and adversely affect our operating margins and cash flows.
Historically, we operated a nearly fully franchised business model. However, in connection with the acquisition of Carrols, which we expect to complete in the second quarter of 2024, we will acquire approximately 1,100 restaurants, the vast majority of which are BK restaurants. In addition, we have recently acquired approximately 125 BK restaurants unrelated to the acquisition of Carrols, 38 of which were acquired in January 2024. Upon completing the Carrols acquisition, we will operate approximately 18% of our BK restaurants in the U.S. and Canada and 4% of our total restaurants. We expect to operate these acquired restaurants before refranchising most of them.
Operating a material portfolio of restaurants can expose us to additional risks or exacerbate those risks to which we are already exposed as a franchisor. For example, as a result of the Carrols acquisition, we expect to increase our number of employees by approximately 24,000. This increase in employees may expose us to additional liability and costs, such as risks associated with minimum wage increases and other mandated benefits, increased costs arising from third party and self-insured health care insurance, employment and labor liability, and regulatory compliance risks. We could also be subject to additional liability such as property,
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environmental and other liability as a result of being a direct operator and lessee of additional restaurants and liability arising from regulatory compliance. Furthermore, risks arising from increases in commodity prices, fuel prices or other costs associated with operating restaurants could adversely affect our operating margins if we are unable to increase pricing proportionately.
Additionally, as we previously announced, we plan to fund the remodel of substantially all BK restaurants acquired in the Carrols acquisition utilizing Carrols restaurants’ operating cash flow. Any future adverse pressure on acquired Carrols restaurants’ cash flow may delay these plans or impact consolidated RBI cash flow if we need to use funds from other sources to complete these remodels.
If we are unable to adequately protect our intellectual property, the value of our brands and our business may be harmed.
Our brands, which represent approximately 46% of the total assets on our balance sheet as of December 31, 2023, are very important to our success and our competitive position. We rely on a combination of trademarks, copyrights, service marks, trade secrets, patents, industrial designs, and other intellectual property rights to protect our brands and the respective branded products. While we have registered certain trademarks in Canada, the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions, not all of the trademarks that our brands currently use have been registered in all of the countries in which we do business, and they may never be registered in all of these countries. We may not be able to adequately protect our trademarks, and our use of these trademarks may result in liability for trademark infringement, trademark dilution or unfair competition. The steps we have taken to protect our intellectual property in Canada, the U.S. and other countries may not be adequate and we may, from time to time, be required to institute litigation to enforce our trademarks or other intellectual property rights or to protect our trade secrets. Further, third parties may assert or prosecute infringement claims against us. In these cases, our proprietary rights could be challenged, circumvented, infringed or invalidated. Any such litigation could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and could negatively affect our revenue, profitability and prospects regardless of whether we are able to successfully enforce our rights. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of Canada and the U.S.
Changes in regulations may adversely affect restaurant operations and our financial results.
Our restaurants are subject to licensing and regulation by health, sanitation, safety and other agencies in the state, province and/or municipality in which the restaurant is located. Federal, state, provincial and local government authorities have enacted and may enact laws, rules or regulations that impact restaurant operations and may increase the cost of doing business. In developing markets, we face the risks associated with new and untested laws and judicial systems. If we fail to comply with existing or future laws, we may be subject to governmental fines and sanctions.
We are subject to various provincial, state and foreign laws that govern the offer and sale of a franchise, including an FTC rule in the U.S. Various provincial, state and foreign laws regulate certain aspects of the franchise relationship, including terminations and the refusal to renew franchises. The failure to comply with these laws and regulations in any jurisdiction or to obtain required government approvals could result in a ban or temporary suspension on future franchise sales, fines and penalties or require us to make offers of rescission or restitution, any of which could adversely affect our business and operating results. We could also face lawsuits by franchisees based upon alleged violations of these laws.
If we are unable to effectively manage the risks associated with our complex regulatory environment, it could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.
We and our franchisees may be adversely affected by climate change.
We, our franchisees, and our supply chain are subject to risks and costs arising from the effects of climate change, greenhouse gases, and diminishing energy and water resources. Climate change may have a negative effect on agricultural productivity which may result in decreased availability or less favorable pricing for certain commodities used in our products, such as beef, chicken, coffee beans and dairy. Climate change may also increase the frequency or severity of weather-related events and natural disasters. Such adverse weather-related impacts may disrupt our operations, cause restaurant closures or delay the opening of new restaurants, and/or increase the costs of (and decrease the availability of) food and other supplies needed for our operations. In turn this could result in reduced profitability for our franchisees and our Company restaurants and reduced system-wide sales and franchise revenue for us. In addition, various legislative and regulatory efforts to combat climate change may increase in the future, which could result in additional taxes, increased expenses and otherwise disrupt or adversely impact our business and/or our growth prospects.
We are subject to increasing and evolving requirements and expectations with respect to social, governance and environmental sustainability matters, which could expose us to numerous risks.
There has been an increased focus, including from investors, the public and governmental and nongovernmental authorities, on social, governance and environmental sustainability matters, such as climate change, greenhouse gases, packaging and waste, human
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rights, diversity, sustainable supply chain practices, animal health and welfare, deforestation, land, energy and water use and other corporate responsibility matters. We and our franchisees are and may become subject to changing rules, regulations and consumer or investor expectations with respect to these matters. As the result of these evolving requirements and increased expectations, as well as our commitment to sustainability matters, we may continue to establish or expand goals, commitments or targets, take actions to meet such goals, commitments and targets and provide expanded disclosure on these matters. These goals could be difficult and expensive to implement, the technologies needed to implement them may not be cost effective and may not advance at a sufficient pace, we may be criticized for the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of disclosures and we are not able to mandate compliance by our franchisees with any of these goals. Further, goals may be based on standards for measuring progress that are still developing, internal controls and processes that continue to evolve, assumptions that are subject to change, and other risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside of our control. If our data, processes and reporting with respect to social and environmental matters are incomplete or inaccurate, or if we fail to achieve progress with respect to these goals on a timely basis, or if our franchisees are not able to meet consumer or investor expectations, consumer and investor trust in our brands may suffer which could diminish the value of our brands and adversely affect our business.
Outsourcing certain functions to third-party vendors subjects us to risks, including disruptions and increased costs.
We have outsourced certain administrative functions for our business, certain information technology support services and benefit plan administration to third-party service providers. In the future, we may outsource other functions to achieve cost savings and efficiencies. If the outsourced service providers do not perform effectively, we may not be able to achieve the expected cost savings and may incur additional costs in connection with such failure to perform. Depending on the function involved, such failures may also lead to business disruption, transaction errors, processing inefficiencies, the loss of sales and customers, the loss of or damage to intellectual property through security breach, and the loss of data through security breach or otherwise. Any such damage or interruption could have a material adverse effect on our business, cause us to face significant fines, customer notice obligations or costly litigation, harm our reputation with our customers or prevent us from paying our collective suppliers or employees or receiving payments on a timely basis.
Risks Related to Our Nearly Fully Franchised Business Model
Our nearly fully franchised business model presents a number of disadvantages and risks.
Nearly all of our restaurants are owned and operated by franchisees. Therefore, our future prospects depend on our ability to attract new franchisees for each of our brands that meet our criteria and the willingness and ability of franchisees to open restaurants in existing and new markets. We may be unable to identify franchisees who meet our criteria, or franchisees we identify may not successfully implement their expansion plans.
Our nearly fully franchised business model presents a number of other drawbacks, such as limited influence over franchisee operations, limited ability to facilitate changes in restaurant ownership, limitations on enforcement of franchise obligations due to bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings, and reliance on franchisees to participate in our strategic initiatives. While we can mandate certain strategic initiatives through enforcement of our franchise agreements, we will need the active support of our franchisees if the implementation of these initiatives is to be successful. The failure of franchisees to support our marketing programs and strategic initiatives could adversely affect our ability to implement our business strategy and could materially harm our business, results of operations and financial condition. On occasion we have encountered, and may in the future encounter, challenges in receiving specific financial and operational results from our franchisees in a consistent and timely manner, which can negatively impact our business and operating results.
Our competitors that have a significantly higher percentage of company-operated restaurants than we do may have greater influence over their respective restaurant systems and greater ability to implement operational initiatives and business strategies, including their marketing and advertising programs. As part of our growth strategy, we may decide to increase or decrease the number of Company-owned stores, either by purchasing existing franchised stores or by refranchising existing company-operated stores. Our failure to successfully execute these transactions could have an adverse effect on our operating results and could cause our stock price to decline.
The ability of our franchisees and prospective franchisees to obtain financing for development of new restaurants or reinvestment in existing restaurants depends in part upon financial and economic conditions beyond their control. If our franchisees are unable to obtain financing on acceptable terms or otherwise do not devote sufficient resources to develop new restaurants or reinvest in existing restaurants, our business and financial results could be adversely affected. Also, investments in restaurant remodels and upgrades by franchisees and us may not have the expected results with respect to consumer sentiment, increased traffic or return on investment.
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Our results are closely tied to the success of independent franchisees, and we have limited influence over their operations.
We generate revenues in the form of royalties, fees and other amounts from our franchisees and our operating results are closely tied to their success. However, our franchisees are independent operators and we cannot control many factors that impact the profitability of their restaurants. At times, we have and may in the future provide cash flow support to franchisees by extending loans, advancing cash payments and/or providing rent relief where we have property control. These actions have and may in the future adversely affect our cash flow and financial results.
If sales trends or economic conditions worsen for franchisees, their financial results may deteriorate, which could result in, among other things, restaurant closures, delayed or reduced payments to us of royalties, advertising contributions, rents and, delayed or reduced payments for Tim Hortons products and supplies, and an inability for such franchisees to obtain financing to fund development, restaurant remodels or equipment initiatives on acceptable terms or at all. Also, franchisees may not be willing or able to renew their franchise agreements with us due to low sales volumes, high real estate costs, or the failure to secure lease renewals. If our franchisees fail to renew their franchise agreements our royalty revenues may decrease, which in turn could materially and adversely affect our business and operating results.
Franchisees and sub-franchisees may not successfully operate restaurants in a manner consistent with our established procedures, standards and requirements or standards set by applicable law, including sanitation and pest control standards, or data processing, privacy and cybersecurity requirements. Any operational shortcoming of a franchise or sub-franchise restaurant is likely to be attributed by guests to the entire brand and may be shared widely through social media, thus damaging the brand’s reputation and potentially affecting our revenues and profitability. We may not be able to identify problems and take effective action quickly enough and, as a result, our image and reputation may suffer, and our franchise revenues and results of operations could decline.
Labor challenges for franchisees or being liable as a joint employer could adversely affect our business.
Our franchisees are dependent upon their ability to attract and retain qualified employees in an intensely competitive labor market. The inability of our franchisees to recruit and retain qualified individuals or increased costs to do so, including due to labor market dynamics or increases in legally required wages, may delay openings of new restaurants by our franchisees and could adversely impact existing franchised restaurant operations and franchisee profitability, which could slow our growth. Boycotts, protests, work stoppages or other campaigns by labor organizations at either franchisee or company restaurants could increase costs, decrease flexibility or otherwise disrupt the business and responses to labor organizing efforts by our franchisees or us could negatively impact brand perception and our business and financial results. In September 2023, California passed legislation setting the minimum wage for fast food restaurant employees at $20 per hour effective April 1, 2024 and establishing a council to set future wage increases and to make recommendations to state agencies for other sector-wide workplace standards. This law and other labor related laws enacted or currently proposed at the federal, state, provincial or local level could increase our franchisees’ labor costs and decrease profitability.
Joint employer status is a developing area of franchise and labor and employment law that could be subject to changes in legislation, administrative agency interpretation or jurisprudential developments that may increase franchisor liability. In October 2023, the National Labor Relations Board issued its final rule addressing the standard for determining joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act. Under the new standard, effective February 26, 2024, a party may assert a joint-employment relationship to establish joint-employer status by using evidence of indirect and reserved forms of control bearing on an employee’s essential terms and conditions of employment. The rule is facing legal challenges, but if it becomes effective in its current form, we could potentially be liable for unfair labor practices and other violations by franchisees or we could be required to conduct collective bargaining negotiations regarding employees of franchisees, who are independent employers. In such event, our operating costs may increase as a result of required modifications to business practices, increased litigation, governmental investigations or proceedings, administrative enforcement actions, fines and civil liability. Employee claims that are brought against us as a result of joint employer standards and status may also, in addition to legal and financial liability, create negative publicity that could adversely affect our brands and divert financial and management resources. A significant increase in the number of these claims, or an increase in the number of successful claims, could adversely impact our brands’ reputation, which may cause significant harm.
Our future growth and profitability will depend on our ability to successfully accelerate international development with strategic partners and joint ventures.
We believe that the future growth and profitability of each of our brands will depend on our ability to successfully accelerate international development with master franchisee and joint venture partners in new and existing international markets. New markets may have different competitive conditions, consumer tastes and discretionary spending patterns than our existing markets. As a result, new restaurants in those markets may have lower average restaurant sales than restaurants in existing markets and may take longer than expected to reach target sales and profit levels or may never do so. We will need to build brand awareness in those new markets
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we enter through advertising and promotional activity, and those activities may not promote our brands as effectively as intended, if at all.
We have adopted a master franchise development model for all of our brands, which in markets with strong growth potential may include participating in joint ventures, to accelerate international growth. These arrangements may give our joint venture partners and/or master franchisees the exclusive right to develop and manage our restaurants in a specific country or countries, including, in some cases, the right to sub-franchise. A joint venture involves special risks, including the following: our joint venture partners may have economic, business or legal interests or goals that are inconsistent with those of the joint venture or us, or our joint venture partners may be unable to meet their economic or other obligations and we may be required to fulfill those obligations alone. Our master franchise arrangements present similar risks and uncertainties. We cannot control the actions of our joint venture partners or master franchisees, including any nonperformance, default or bankruptcy of joint venture partners or master franchisees. While sub-franchisees are required to operate their restaurants in accordance with specified operations, safety and health standards, we are not party to the agreements with the sub-franchisees and are dependent upon our master franchisees to enforce these standards with respect to sub-franchised restaurants. As a result, the ultimate success and quality of any sub-franchised restaurant rests with the master franchisee and the sub-franchisee. In addition, the termination of an arrangement with a master franchisee or a lack of expansion by certain master franchisees has and may in the future result in the delay or discontinuation of the development of franchised restaurants, or an interruption in the operation of our brand in a particular market or markets. We may not be able to find another operator to resume development activities in such market or markets. Any such delay, discontinuation or interruption could materially and adversely affect our business and operating results.
Risks related to Information Technology
If we are unable to protect the personal information that we gather or fail to comply with privacy and data protection laws and regulations, we could be subject to civil and criminal penalties, suffer reputational harm and incur substantial costs.
In the ordinary course of our business, we collect, process, transmit, disclose, and retain personal information regarding our employees and their families, our franchisees and their employees, vendors, contractors, and guests (which can include social security numbers, social insurance numbers, banking and tax identification information, health care information for employees, and credit card information) and our franchisees collect similar information. In recent years we expanded our development and management of our brands’ mobile apps, online ordering platforms, and in-restaurant kiosks and home market loyalty programs. While our deployment of such technology facilitates our primary goals of generating incremental sales and improving operations at our franchisees’ restaurants as well as additional customer awareness and interest in our brands, such deployment also means that we are collecting and entrusted with additional personal information, in some cases including geo-location tracking information, about our customers.
In connection with the collection and retention of this information, we are subject to legal and compliance risks and associated liability related to privacy and data protection requirements. These types of legislation, which include the Canadian Consumer Privacy Protection Act, the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020, Quebec's Law 25, the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”) and the U.K. General Data Protection Regulation, can impose stringent data protection requirements, provide for costly penalties for noncompliance (eg. up to 4% of annual worldwide revenue for a breach of the GDPR), and confer the right upon data subjects and consumer associations to lodge complaints with supervisory authorities, seek judicial remedies, and obtain compensation for damages resulting from violations. In China, the Personal Information Protection Law (“PIPL”), has established personal information processing rules, data subject rights, and obligations for personal information processors, among other things. In addition to the PIPL, China’s Data Security Law regulates data processing activities associated with personal and non-personal data. Due to enhanced scrutiny from the general public, these regulations as well as their interpretation and criteria for enforcement continue to be subject to frequent change, and there are likely to be other jurisdictions that propose or enact new or emerging data privacy requirements in the future.
The complexity of these privacy and data protection laws may result in significant costs arising from compliance and from any non-compliance, whether or not due to our negligence, and could affect our brand reputation and our results of operations. We have and are expected to continue to have significant investments arising from compliance with these regulatory regimes due to changes in the scope of our operations and the ever-changing techniques and sophistication used to conduct cyber-attacks and breaches. In addition, to the extent that we are not in compliance with these laws or experience a major breach, theft, or loss of personal information that is held by us, or third parties on our behalf (whether or not due to our failure to comply with data security rules and standards), we could be subject to substantial fines, penalties, indemnification claims, and potential litigation which could negatively impact our results of operations and financial condition. For example, in Canada, we have been the subject of government investigation and purported class action lawsuits based on the use of certain geolocation data for Tim Hortons mobile app users. As a result of any breach, we may incur additional expenditures arising from additional security technologies, personnel, experts, and credit monitoring services for those whose data has been breached. These costs could adversely impact our results of operations during the period in which they are incurred. In addition, negative publicity regarding a breach or potential security vulnerabilities in our systems or those of our franchisees or vendors, has and in the future could adversely affect the reputation of our brands and acceptance of digital engagement by our customers which in turn could adversely affect our future results of operations.
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Information technology system failures or interruptions or breaches of our network security may interrupt our operations, cause reputational harm, subject us to increased operating costs and expose us to litigation.
We rely heavily on information technology systems and infrastructure, including third-party vendors’ systems to whom we outsource certain functions across operations including, but not limited to, point-of-sale processing at our restaurants and in our mobile apps. Despite implementation of security measures, security incidents or breaches may occur involving our systems, the systems of the parties with whom we communicate or collaborate (including franchisees) or the systems of third-party providers. These may include damage, disruption or failures due to physical damage, power loss, telecommunications failure, or other catastrophic events, as well as from problems with transitioning systems, internal and external security breaches, malicious cyber-attacks including the introduction of malware or ransomware or other disruptive behavior by hackers, which may be exacerbated by artificial intelligence. Such damage, disruption or failures could adversely impact our results of operations and our reputation. From time to time, we have been notified by third party vendors of security incidents or breaches that affect their systems and their ability to provide services to us at expected service levels. If any of our or our vendors' systems were to fail or become subject to ransomware and we were unable to recover in a timely way, we could experience material and adverse impacts to our results of operations. To the extent that some of our worldwide reporting systems require or rely on manual processes, it could increase the risk of a breach due to human error.
Further, the standards for systems currently used for transmission and approval of electronic payment transactions, and the technology utilized in electronic payment themselves, all of which can put electronic payment data at risk, are determined and controlled by the payment card industry. If someone can circumvent our data security measures or those of third parties, including our franchisees, they could destroy or steal valuable information received as part of electronic payments. Such destruction or loss could expose us to litigation or liability and could impact our results of operations. Any resulting negative publicity could significantly harm our or our brands’ reputations.
Finally, we may need to continue to expend substantial resources to enhance our existing restaurant management systems, financial and management controls, information systems and personnel to accurately capture and reflect the financial and operational activities at our franchised restaurants. On occasion we have encountered, and may in the future encounter, challenges in receiving these results from our franchisees in a consistent and timely manner as a number of our systems relating to tracking the financial and operational activities and processes at our franchised restaurants are not fully integrated worldwide. Further, the information we receive from franchisees, including regarding their profitability, may not be audited or subject to a similar level of internal controls as our processes. To the extent that we are not able to obtain transparency into our operations from these systems, it could impair the ability of our management to react quickly when appropriate and our operating results could be negatively impacted.
Risks Related to our Indebtedness
Our leverage and obligations to service our debt could adversely affect our business.
As of December 31, 2023, we had aggregate outstanding indebtedness of $13,043 million, including senior secured term loan facilities in an aggregate principal amount of $6,450 million, senior secured first lien notes in an aggregate principal amount of $2,800 million and senior secured second lien notes in an aggregate principal amount of $3,650 million. Subject to restrictions set forth in these instruments, we may also incur significant additional indebtedness in the future, some of which may be secured debt. This may have the effect of increasing our total leverage.
Our substantial leverage could have important potential consequences, including, but not limited to:
increasing our vulnerability to, and reducing our flexibility to respond to, changes in our business and general adverse economic and industry conditions;
requiring the dedication of a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to our debt service, thereby reducing the availability of such cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, joint ventures, product research, dividends, share repurchases or other corporate purposes;
increasing our vulnerability to a downgrade of our credit rating, which could adversely affect our cost of funds, liquidity and access to capital markets;
placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to competitors who are not as highly leveraged;
restricting us from making strategic acquisitions or causing us to make non-strategic divestitures;
exposing us to the risk of increased interest rates for variable interest rate borrowings under our credit facilities;
making it more difficult for us to repay, refinance or satisfy our obligations with respect to our debt;
limiting our ability to borrow additional funds in the future and increasing the cost of any such borrowing;
imposing restrictive covenants that may hinder our ability to finance future operations and capital needs or to pursue certain business opportunities and activities, and which, in the event of non-compliance without cure or waiver, could result in an event of default and the acceleration of the applicable debt and any debt subject to cross-acceleration;
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requiring repayment or an offer to repurchase in the event of a change of control that may delay or prevent such change of control; and
exposing us to risks related to fluctuations in foreign currency as we earn profits in a variety of currencies around the world and substantially all of our debt is denominated in U.S. dollars.
If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow to pay indebtedness and other funding needs or refinance our indebtedness on favorable terms, or at all, our financial condition may be materially adversely affected.
Following the occurrence of either an event of default or change of control, we may not have sufficient resources to repurchase, repay or redeem our obligations, as applicable, and we may not be able to obtain additional financing to satisfy these obligations on terms favorable to us or at all. Also, if we were unable to repay the amounts due under our secured indebtedness, the holders of such indebtedness could proceed against the collateral that secures such indebtedness. In the event our creditors accelerate the repayment of our secured indebtedness, we and our subsidiaries may not have sufficient assets to repay that indebtedness.
Risks Related to Taxation
Unanticipated tax liabilities could adversely affect the taxes we pay and our profitability.
We are subject to income and other taxes in Canada, the United States, and numerous foreign jurisdictions. A taxation authority may disagree with certain of our views, including, for example, the allocation of profits by tax jurisdiction, and the deductibility of our interest expense, and may take the position that material income tax liabilities, interest, penalties, or other amounts are payable by us, in which case, we expect to contest such assessment. Contesting such an assessment may be lengthy and costly and, if we were unsuccessful, the implications could be materially adverse to us and affect our effective income tax rate and/or operating income.
From time to time, we are subject to additional state and local income tax audits, international income tax audits and sales, franchise and value-added tax audits. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, the final determination of tax audits and any related litigation could be materially different from our historical income tax provisions and accruals. The Canada Revenue Agency (the “CRA”), the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) and/or foreign tax authorities may not agree with our interpretation of the tax aspects of reorganizations, initiatives, transactions, or any related matters associated therewith that we have undertaken.
The results of a tax audit or related litigation could result in us not being in a position to take advantage of the effective income tax rates and the level of benefits that we anticipated to achieve as a result of corporate reorganizations, initiatives and transactions, and the implications could have a material adverse effect on our effective income tax rate, income tax provision, net income (loss) or cash flows in the period or periods for which that determination is made.
RBI and Partnership may be treated as U.S. corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which could subject us and Partnership to substantial additional U.S. taxes.
Because RBI and Partnership are organized under the laws of Canada, we are classified as foreign entities (and, therefore, non-U.S. tax residents) under general rules of U.S. federal income taxation that an entity is considered a tax resident in the jurisdiction of its organization or incorporation. Even so, the IRS may assert that we should be treated as a U.S. corporation (and, therefore, a U.S. tax resident) for U.S. federal income tax purposes pursuant to complex rules under Section 7874 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. In addition, a retroactive or prospective change to U.S. tax laws in this area could adversely impact this classification. If we were to be treated as a U.S. corporation for federal tax purposes, we could be subject to substantially greater U.S. tax liability than currently contemplated as a non-U.S. corporation.
Future changes to Canadian, U.S. and other foreign tax laws, including future regulations and other interpretive guidance of such tax laws, could materially affect RBI and/or Partnership, and adversely affect their anticipated financial positions and results.
Our effective tax rate, cash taxes and financial results could be adversely impacted by changes in applicable tax laws (including regulatory, administrative, and judicial interpretations and guidance relating to such laws) in the jurisdictions in which we operate.
The 2021 Canadian Federal Budget proposed various tax law changes, including a new limitation on the deductibility of interest and similar expenses; revised draft legislation was released on November 21, 2023, with a proposed effective date for taxation years beginning on or after October 1, 2023. The proposed rules have not yet been enacted. In general, the draft legislation proposes to limit the deductibility of interest and other financing-related expenses to the extent that such expenses, net of interest and financing-related income, exceed a fixed ratio of the entity’s tax EBITDA, with a specified carry-back limit and an indefinite carry-forward limit. The
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proposed rules and their application are complex and could materially increase our future income taxes if enacted, adversely impacting our effective tax rate and financial results.
On November 21, 2023, Canada released revised, proposed legislation that would impose a 2% equity buyback tax for net equity repurchase transactions that occur on or after January 1, 2024, however, this legislation has not yet been enacted.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) and many countries in which we operate have committed to enacting substantial changes to numerous long-standing tax principles impacting how large multinational enterprises are taxed in an effort to limit perceived base erosion and profit shifting incentives, including a 15% global minimum tax applied on a country-by-country basis, likely applicable to periods beginning on or after December 31, 2023. The OECD has issued model rules with respect to various aspects of such proposed changes and ongoing public consultation with additional guidance expected. On November 21, 2023, Canada released initial draft enabling legislation with respect to aspects of such OECD model rules. The enactment, timing and many details regarding such potential tax law changes remain uncertain as Canada and other individual countries evaluate and pursue their respective approaches to enacting the principles underlying such model rules. Certain countries in which we operate have enacted legislation (with subsequent guidance and details expected to follow) to adopt the “Pillar Two” framework effective for periods beginning on or after January 1, 2024, including Switzerland, which will increase our future taxes, adversely impacting our effective tax rate and financial results. We will continue to evaluate the potential impact on future periods of the “Pillar Two” framework as additional guidance is released and other individual countries adopt such enabling legislation.
Risks Related to our Common Shares
3G RBH owns approximately 28% of the combined voting power in RBI, and its interests may conflict with or differ from the interests of the other shareholders.
3G Restaurant Brands Holdings LP (“3G RBH”) currently owns approximately 28% of the combined voting power in RBI. So long as 3G RBH continues to directly or indirectly own a significant amount of the voting power, it will continue to be able to strongly influence or effectively control business decisions of RBI. 3G RBH and its principals may have interests that are different from those of other shareholders, and 3G RBH may exercise its voting and other rights in a manner that may be adverse to the interests of such shareholders. In addition, this concentration of ownership could have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control or otherwise discouraging a potential acquirer from attempting to obtain control of RBI, which could cause the market price of our common shares to decline or prevent our shareholders from realizing a premium over the market price for their common shares or Partnership exchangeable units.
Canadian laws may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control.
We are a Canadian entity. The Investment Canada Act requires that a “non-Canadian,” as defined therein, file an application for review with the Minister responsible for the Investment Canada Act and obtain approval of the Minister prior to acquiring control of a Canadian business, where prescribed financial thresholds are exceeded. This may discourage a potential acquirer from proposing or completing a transaction that may otherwise present a premium to shareholders.
General Risks
The loss of key management personnel or our inability to attract and retain new qualified personnel could hurt our business.
We are dependent on the efforts and abilities of our senior management, including the executives managing each of our brands, and our success will also depend on our ability to attract and retain additional qualified employees. Failure to attract personnel sufficiently qualified to execute our strategy, or to retain existing key personnel, could have a material adverse effect on our business. Also, integration of strategic transactions such as the acquisition of Firehouse Subs and pending acquisition of Carrols, may divert management’s attention from other initiatives, and effectively executing our growth strategy.
We have been, and in the future may be, subject to litigation that could have an adverse effect on our business.
We are regularly involved in litigation including related to disputes with franchisees, suppliers, employees, team members, and customers, as well as disputes over our advertising claims about our food and over our intellectual property. See the discussion of Legal Proceedings in Note 16, “Commitments and Contingencies,” to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K. Active and potential disputes with franchisees could damage our brand reputation and our relationships with our broader franchise base. Such litigation may be expensive to defend, harm our reputation and divert resources away from our operations and negatively impact our reported earnings. Also, legal proceedings against a franchisee or its affiliates by third parties, whether in the ordinary course of business or otherwise, may include claims against us by virtue of our relationship with the franchisee. We, or our business partners, may become subject to claims for infringement of intellectual property rights and we may be required to indemnify
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or defend our business partners from such claims. Should management’s evaluation of our current exposure to legal matters pending against us prove incorrect and if such claims are successful, our exposure could exceed expectations and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Although some losses may be covered by insurance, if there are significant losses that are not covered, or there is a delay in receiving insurance proceeds, or the proceeds are insufficient to offset our losses fully, our financial condition or results of operations may be adversely affected.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
None.


Item 1C. Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity risk management and strategy
We recognize the critical importance of maintaining the trust and confidence of our customers, franchisees and employees. Consequently, our cybersecurity policies, standards, processes and practices are embedded within our overall enterprise risk management (“ERM”) program.
Our operations utilize multiple information systems, including accounting software, human resources management software, back of house systems, supply chain software, our brands’ mobile apps, online ordering platforms, in-restaurant kiosks, point-of-sale software, and back-of-house software. In the ordinary course of our business, we collect, process, transmit, disclose, and retain personal information regarding our employees, our franchisees, vendors, contractors, and guests (which can include social security numbers, social insurance numbers, banking and tax identification information, health care information for employees, and credit card information) and our franchisees collect similar information.
To protect the information that we gather and the availability of our information systems from cybersecurity threats, we have an ongoing cybersecurity risk mitigation program, which includes maintaining up-to-date detection, prevention and monitoring systems and contracting with outside cybersecurity firms to provide continuous monitoring of our systems as well as threat-detection services. We define a cybersecurity threat as any potential unauthorized occurrence on or conducted through our information systems or information systems of a third party that we utilize in our business that may result in adverse effects on the confidentiality, integrity or availability of our information systems or any information residing therein. Our cybersecurity policies, standards, processes, and practices are based on recognized frameworks established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and include the following components:
Collaborative Approach: We have implemented a comprehensive, cross-functional approach to identifying, preventing, and mitigating cybersecurity threats and incidents, while also implementing controls and procedures that provide for the prompt escalation of certain cybersecurity incidents so that decisions regarding the public disclosure and reporting of such incidents can be made by management in a timely manner.
Deployment of Technical Safeguards: We deploy technical safeguards that are designed to protect our information systems from cybersecurity threats, including firewalls, intrusion prevention and detection systems, anti-malware functionality and access controls, which are evaluated and improved through vulnerability assessments and cybersecurity threat intelligence.
Development and Periodic Testing of Incident Response and Recovery Planning: We have developed and maintain comprehensive incident response and recovery plans that address our response to cybersecurity threats, and such plans are tested and evaluated on a regular basis. Our periodic testing of these plans includes a wide range of activities, including audits, assessments, tabletop exercises, threat modeling, vulnerability testing and other exercises focused on evaluating the effectiveness of our cybersecurity measures and planning. We engage third parties to perform assessments on our cybersecurity measures, including information security maturity assessments, audits and independent reviews of our information security control environment and operating effectiveness. The results of such assessments, audits and reviews are reported to the Audit Committee, and we adjust cybersecurity policies, standards, processes and practices as necessary based on the information provided by these assessments, audits and reviews.
Third-Party Risk Management: We maintain a comprehensive, risk-based approach to identifying and overseeing cybersecurity risks presented by third parties, including vendors, service providers, franchisees and other external users of our systems, as well as the systems of third parties that could adversely impact our business in the event of a cybersecurity incident affecting those third-party systems.
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Implementation of Regular and Mandatory Employee Training and Awareness Programs: We provide regular, mandatory training for our personnel regarding cybersecurity threats as a means to equip them with effective tools to detect and address cybersecurity threats, and to communicate our evolving information security policies, standards, processes and practices.
Governance
Our Audit Committee oversees our ERM process, including the management of risks arising from cybersecurity threats. The Audit Committee regularly receives presentations and reports on cybersecurity risks, which address a wide range of topics including recent developments, evolving standards, vulnerability assessments, third-party and independent reviews, the threat environment, technological trends and information security considerations arising with respect to our peers and third parties. Our Internal Audit function performs periodic audits of our cyber security program and reports results to the Audit Committee. On a periodic basis, the Audit Committee discusses our approach to cybersecurity risk management with our Chief Information Security Officer (“CISO”).
Our CISO works in coordination with our senior management and leaders at each of our brands to implement a program designed to protect our information systems from cybersecurity threats and to promptly respond to any cybersecurity incidents in accordance with our incident response and recovery plans. Our CISO and the internal security team monitor the prevention, detection, mitigation and remediation of cybersecurity threats and incidents in real time, and report such threats and incidents to the Audit Committee when appropriate. We also use a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) to provide continuous monitoring of our systems and supplement our internal security team.
As of December 31, 2023, our CISO has served in various roles in information technology and information security for over 37 years, as an IT auditor and an IT security executive. He has been in various industries including Finance, Manufacturing and Retail. The CISO has both the CISA and CRP designations.
While cybersecurity threats as a result of any previous cybersecurity incidents have not materially affected our business strategy, results of operations or financial condition, future incidents may interrupt our operations, cause reputational harm, subject us to increased operating costs and/or expose us to litigation.
Executive Officers of the Registrant
Set forth below is certain information about our executive officers as of February 20, 2024.
NameAge  Position
J. Patrick Doyle60Executive Chairman
Joshua Kobza37Chief Executive Officer
Matthew Dunnigan40Chief Financial Officer
Axel Schwan50President, Tim Hortons Canada & U.S.
Thomas B. Curtis60President, Burger King U.S. & Canada
Sami Siddiqui39President, Popeyes U.S. & Canada
David Shear39President, International
Duncan Fulton48Chief Corporate Officer
Jeff Housman42Chief People & Services Officer
Jill Granat58General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Jacqueline Friesner51Controller and Chief Accounting Officer
Patrick Doyle. Mr. Doyle has served as Executive Chair of our Board since January 2023 and was appointed Executive Chairman of RBI in November 2022. Most recently, he served as an executive partner focused on the consumer sector of the Carlyle Group, a global diversified investment firm from September 2019 through November 2022, Prior to that he served as the chief executive officer of Domino’s Pizza from March 2010 to June 2018, having served as president from 2007 to 2010, as executive vice president of Domino’s Team USA from 2004 to 2007 and as executive vice president of Domino’s International form 1999 to 2004.
Joshua Kobza. Mr. Kobza was appointed Chief Executive Officer of RBI effective March 1, 2023. Prior to that, Mr. Kobza served as Chief Operating Officer of RBI from January 2019 to March 2023, as Chief Technology and Development Officer of RBI from January 2018 to January 2019, and as Chief Financial Officer of RBI from December 2014 to January 2018. From April 2013 to December 2014, Mr. Kobza served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Burger King Worldwide. Mr. Kobza joined Burger King Worldwide in June 2012 as Director, Investor Relations, and was promoted to Senior Vice President, Global Finance in December 2012.
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Matthew Dunnigan. Mr. Dunnigan was appointed Chief Financial Officer of RBI in January 2018. From October 2014 until January 2018, Mr. Dunnigan held the position of Treasurer, where he took on increasing responsibilities and successfully led all of RBI’s capital markets activities. Before he joined RBI, Mr. Dunnigan served as Vice President of Crescent Capital Group LP, from September 2013 through October 2014, where he evaluated investments across the credit markets. Prior to that, Mr. Dunnigan was a private equity investment professional for H.I.G. Capital.
Axel Schwan. Mr. Schwan was appointed as President, Tim Hortons Canada & US in October 2019 after serving as Global Chief Marketing Officer for Tim Hortons since October 2017. Mr. Schwan first joined RBI as Marketing Director, Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 2011 and was then appointed as Vice President, Marketing and Communications, EMEA for Burger King before advancing to the role of Global Chief Marketing Officer for the brand in January 2014. Prior to joining RBI, Mr. Schwan led the Schwan family restaurant business, alongside his sister, and worked in various marketing roles at Unilever and Danone in Germany.
Tom Curtis. Mr. Curtis was appointed President, Burger King U.S. & Canada in October 2021. From May 2021 to October 2021, he was the Chief Operating Officer, where he was responsible for overseeing field operations, restaurant development and restaurant operations. Prior to joining BKC, Mr. Curtis spent 35-years at Domino’s Pizza, Inc., where he most recently served as Executive Vice President, U.S. Operations and Global Operations Support, overseeing both franchise and company-owned operations from March 2020 to April 2021. Prior to that, he served as Executive Vice President, Corporate Operations from July 2018 to March 2020, and as Vice President of Franchise Relations and Operations Innovation from March 2017 to July 2018. Mr. Curtis joined Domino’s in 2006, after being a Domino’s franchisee since 1987.
Sami Siddiqui. Mr. Siddiqui was appointed President, Popeyes U.S. & Canada in September 2020. Prior to that Mr. Siddiqui served as President of Asia Pacific for RBI from February 2019 to September 2020 and as Chief Financial Officer for Burger King Corporation from October 2018 to February 2019. From September 2016 to September 2018, he was President of Tim Hortons and from April 2015 to September 2016, he was Executive Vice President, Finance for Tim Hortons. Mr. Siddiqui joined Burger King Corporation in 2013 and served various capacities within the Global Finance groups of Burger King Corporation prior to joining the Tim Hortons team.
David Shear. Mr. Shear was appointed President International of RBI in January 2021. Mr. Shear previously served as President EMEA beginning in September 2016. Mr. Shear joined the predecessor of RBI in 2011, holding roles of increasing responsibility within Burger King U.S. marketing. He then held various roles in Asia Pacific, including serving as President of Burger King APAC from 2014 to 2016. Prior to joining Burger King, Mr. Shear worked at strategy consulting firm Charles River Associates.
Duncan Fulton. Mr. Fulton was appointed Chief Corporate Officer of RBI, in June 2018, overseeing global communications, North American franchising, government relations and ESG initiatives. Mr. Fulton also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Tim Hortons Foundation. Prior to joining RBI, Mr. Fulton held several positions with Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) from November 2009 to March 2018, including Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Chief Marketing Officer for FGL Sports and Mark’s Work Warehouse, and President of FGL Sports. Previously, Mr. Fulton was Senior Partner and General Manager of Fleishman-Hilliard from April 2002 to November 2009. Prior to his agency experience, Mr. Fulton served as a communication advisor and spokesman for several political leaders, including former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna.
Jeff Housman. Mr. Housman was appointed Chief People & Services Officer of RBI in April 2021 and previously served as Chief Human Resources Officer beginning in February 2017 as well as Head of Global Business Services from January 2015 to January 2017. Mr. Housman joined Burger King in April 2013 serving in finance, real estate and business services roles. Prior to joining Burger King, Mr. Housman worked in investment banking at J.P. Morgan, and he holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Emory University.
Jill Granat. Ms. Granat was appointed General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of RBI in December 2014. Ms. Granat served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Burger King Worldwide and its predecessor since February 2011. Prior to this time, Ms. Granat was Vice President and Assistant General Counsel of Burger King Corporation from July 2009 until February 2011. Ms. Granat joined Burger King Corporation in 1998 as a member of the legal department and served in positions of increasing responsibility with Burger King Corporation.
Jacqueline Friesner. Ms. Friesner was appointed Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of RBI in December 2014. Ms. Friesner served as Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of Burger King Worldwide and its predecessor from March 2011 until December 2014. Prior thereto, Ms. Friesner served in positions of increasing responsibility with Burger King Corporation. Before joining Burger King Corporation in October 2002, she was an audit manager at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Miami, Florida.
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Item 2. Properties
Our corporate headquarters is located in Toronto, Ontario and consists of approximately 65,000 square feet which we lease. Our U.S. headquarters is located in Miami, Florida and consists of approximately 150,000 square feet which we lease. We also lease office property in Switzerland, Singapore and Jacksonville, Florida and additional office space in Canada.
The table below sets forth the real estate profile of each of our franchised restaurants and company restaurants by operating segment. As discussed in the Business section, our TH, BK, PLK and FHS segments include operations for each of these brands in the U.S. and Canada while our INTL segment includes operations of each of our four brands outside of the U.S. and Canada. In addition to the restaurant properties below, we own five distribution centers and own two manufacturing plants in Canada which are included in our TH segment. We also lease one manufacturing plant in the U.S. which is included in our TH segment.
As of December 31, 2023, our restaurant footprint was as follows:
THBKPLKFHSINTLTotal
Franchised Restaurants
Sites owned by us and leased to franchisees770 629 37 — 1,438 
Sites leased by us and subleased to franchisees2,771 670 56 — 3,503 
Sites owned/leased directly by franchisees976 5,707 3,260 1,226 14,734 25,903 
Total franchised restaurant sites4,517 7,006 3,353 1,226 14,742 30,844 
Company Restaurants
Sites owned by us31 10 — — 42 
Sites leased by us107 31 39 — 184 
Total company restaurant sites138 41 39 — 226 
Total system-wide restaurant sites4,525 7,144 3,394 1,265 14,742 31,070 
We believe that our existing headquarters and other leased and owned facilities are adequate to meet our current requirements.

Item 3. Legal Proceedings
From time to time, we are involved in legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of business relating to matters including, but not limited to, disputes with franchisees, suppliers, employees and customers, as well as disputes over our intellectual property.  
See Note 16, “Commitments and Contingencies,” to the accompanying consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for more information on certain legal proceedings.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.
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Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market for Our Common Shares
Our common shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) and Toronto Stock Exchange (“TSX”) under the ticker symbol “QSR”. The Class B exchangeable limited partnership units of Partnership (the “Partnership exchangeable units”) trade on the TSX under the ticker symbol “QSP”. As of February 14, 2024, there were 20,585 holders of record of our common shares.
Share Repurchase
Following are our monthly share repurchases for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2023:
PeriodTotal Number of Shares PurchasedTotal Dollar Value of Shares PurchasedAverage Price Paid per ShareTotal Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs (1)Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet be Purchased under the Plans or Programs
October 1, 2023 - October 31, 20235,539,777 $357,716,433 $64.57 5,539,777 $500,000,010 
November 1, 2023 - November 30, 2023— — — — 500,000,010 
December 1, 2023 - December 31, 2023— — — — 500,000,010 
5,539,777 $357,716,433 5,539,777 
(1)In August 2023, the Board of Directors authorized repurchases of up to $1.0 billion common shares through September 30, 2025 and the open market repurchases of the common shares listed in the table above were made pursuant to that authorization. Under the program, shares may be repurchased in privately negotiated or open market transactions, including under plans complying with Rule 10b5-1 under the Exchange Act. Purchases made during October 2023 were pursuant to a Rule 10b5-1 plan.
Dividend Policy
On February 13, 2024, we announced that the board of directors had declared a cash dividend of $0.58 per common share for the first quarter of 2024. The dividend will be paid on April 4, 2024 to common shareholders of record on March 21, 2024. Partnership will also make a distribution in respect of each Partnership exchangeable unit in the amount of $0.58 per Partnership exchangeable unit, and the record date and payment date for distributions on Partnership exchangeable units are the same as the record date and payment date set forth above.
We are targeting a total of $2.32 in declared dividends per common share and distributions in respect of each Partnership exchangeable unit for 2024.
Although our board of directors declared a cash dividend on our common shares for each quarter of 2023 and for the first quarter of 2024, any future dividends on our common shares will be determined at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon results of operations, financial condition, contractual restrictions, including the terms of the agreements governing our debt and any future indebtedness we may incur, restrictions imposed by applicable law and other factors that our board of directors deems relevant. Although we are targeting a total of $2.32 in declared dividends per common share and Partnership exchangeable unit for 2024, there is no assurance that we will achieve our target total dividend for 2024 and satisfy our debt service and other obligations.

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Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
On August 31, 2023, our Board of Directors approved a share repurchase program that allows us to purchase up to $1,000 million of our common shares until September 30, 2025. This approval follows the expiration of our prior two-year authorization to repurchase up to $1,000 million of our common shares. During 2023, we repurchased and cancelled 7,639,137 RBI common shares for $500 million. During 2022, we repurchased and cancelled 6,101,364 RBI common shares for $326 million. During 2021, we repurchased and cancelled 9,247,648 RBI common shares for $551 million. As of December 31, 2023, we had $500 million remaining under the authorization.
During 2023, Partnership received exchange notices representing 9,398,876 Partnership exchangeable units, with no exchange notices received during the fourth quarter of 2023. Pursuant to the terms of the partnership agreement, Partnership satisfied the exchange notices by exchanging the Partnership exchangeable units for the same number of our newly issued common shares. During 2022, Partnership received exchange notices representing 1,996,818 Partnership exchangeable units and satisfied the exchange notices by exchanging the Partnership exchangeable units for the same number of newly issued common shares. During 2021, Partnership received exchange notices representing 10,119,880 Partnership exchangeable units and satisfied the exchange notices by exchanging the Partnership exchangeable units for the same number of newly issued common shares. Pursuant to the terms of the partnership agreement, the purchase price for the Partnership exchangeable units was based on the weighted average trading price of our common shares on the NYSE for the 20 consecutive trading days ending on the last business day prior to the exchange date. Upon the exchange of Partnership exchangeable units, each such Partnership exchangeable unit was automatically deemed cancelled concurrently with such exchange.
Stock Performance Graph
The following graph shows the Company’s cumulative shareholder returns over the period from December 31, 2018 to December 31, 2023. The graph depicts the total return to shareholders from December 31, 2018 through December 31, 2023, relative to the performance of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and the Standard & Poor’s Restaurant Index, a peer group. The graph assumes an investment of $100 in the Company's common stock and each index on December 31, 2018 and the reinvestment of dividends paid since that date. The stock price performance shown in the graph is not necessarily indicative of future price performance.

4367
12/31/201812/31/201912/31/202012/31/202112/31/202212/31/2023
Restaurant Brands International (NYSE)$100$125$125$128$142$177
S&P 500 Index$100$131$156$200$164$207
S&P Restaurant Index$100$124$146$180$166$190


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Item 6. [Reserved]





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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
You should read the following discussion together with our audited Consolidated Financial Statements and the related notes thereto included in Part II, Item 8 “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Annual Report for the year ended December 31, 2023 (our “Annual Report”).
The following discussion includes information regarding future financial performance and plans, targets, aspirations, expectations, and objectives of management, which constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and forward-looking information within the meaning of the Canadian securities laws as described in further detail under “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” that is set forth below. Actual results may differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements because of a number of risks and uncertainties, including the matters discussed in the “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” below. In addition, please refer to the risks set forth under the caption “Risk Factors” included in this Annual Report for a further description of risks and uncertainties affecting our business and financial results. Historical trends should not be taken as indicative of future operations and financial results. Other than as required under the U.S. Federal securities laws or the Canadian securities laws, we do not assume a duty to update these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, subsequent events or circumstances, changes in expectations or otherwise.
We prepare our financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“U.S. GAAP” or “GAAP”). However, this Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations also contains certain non-GAAP financial measures to assist readers in understanding our performance. Non-GAAP financial measures either exclude or include amounts that are not reflected in the most directly comparable measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP. Where non-GAAP financial measures are used, we have provided the most directly comparable measures calculated and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP, a reconciliation to GAAP measures and a discussion of the reasons why management believes this information is useful to it and may be useful to investors.
Unless the context otherwise requires, all references in this section to “RBI”, the “Company”, “we”, “us” or “our” are to Restaurant Brands International Inc. and its subsidiaries, collectively and all references in this section to “Partnership” are to Restaurant Brands International Limited Partnership and its subsidiaries, collectively.
All references to “$” or “dollars” in this report are to the currency of the United States unless otherwise indicated. All references to “Canadian dollars” or “C$” are to the currency of Canada unless otherwise indicated.
Overview
We are a Canadian corporation that serves as the indirect holding company for the entities that own and franchise the Tim Hortons®, Burger King®, Popeyes® and Firehouse Subs® brands. We are one of the world’s largest quick service restaurant (“QSR”) companies with over $40 billion in annual system-wide sales and over 30,000 restaurants in more than 120 countries and territories as of December 31, 2023. Our Tim Hortons®, Burger King®, Popeyes®, and Firehouse Subs® brands have similar franchised business models with complementary daypart mixes and product platforms. Our four iconic brands are managed independently while benefiting from global scale and sharing of best practices.
Tim Hortons restaurants are quick service restaurants with a menu that includes premium blend coffee, tea, espresso-based hot and cold specialty drinks, fresh baked goods, including donuts, Timbits®, bagels, muffins, cookies and pastries, sandwiches, wraps, soups and more. Burger King restaurants are quick service restaurants that feature flame-grilled hamburgers, chicken and other specialty sandwiches, french fries, soft drinks and other food items. Popeyes restaurants are quick service restaurants that distinguish themselves with a unique “Louisiana” style menu featuring fried chicken, chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, wings, fried shrimp and other seafood, red beans and rice and other regional items. Firehouse Subs restaurants are quick service restaurants featuring hot and hearty subs piled high with quality meats and cheese as well as chopped salads, chili and soups, signature and other sides, soft drinks and local specialties.

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Beginning with the fourth quarter of 2023, we are reporting results under five operating and reportable segments. This shift in reportable segments reflects how RBI's leadership oversees and manages the business. As a result of this change, our five operating and reportable segments consist of the following:
1.Tim Hortons – all operations of our Tim Hortons brand in Canada and the U.S. (“TH”);
2.Burger King – all operations of our Burger King brand in the U.S. and Canada (“BK”);
3.Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen – all operations of our Popeyes brand in the U.S. and Canada (“PLK”);
4.Firehouse Subs – all operations of our Firehouse Subs brand in the U.S. and Canada (“FHS”); and
5.International – all operations of each of our brands outside the U.S. and Canada (“INTL”).
Prior year amounts presented have been reclassified to conform to this new segment presentation with no effect on previously reported consolidated results.
In addition, we transitioned our definition of segment income from Adjusted EBITDA to Adjusted Operating Income (“AOI”). AOI represents income from operations, adjusted to exclude (i) franchise agreement amortization as a result of acquisition accounting, (ii) (income) loss from equity method investments, net of cash distributions received from equity method investments, (iii) other operating expenses (income), net and, (iv) income/expenses from non-recurring projects and non-operating activities. Unlike Adjusted EBITDA, our previous measure of segment income, AOI includes depreciation and amortization (excluding franchise agreement amortization) as well as share-based compensation and non-cash incentive compensation expense.
We generate revenues from the following sources: (i) sales, consisting primarily of (1) Tim Hortons supply chain sales, which represent sales of products, supplies and restaurant equipment to franchisees, as well as sales of consumer packaged goods (“CPG”), and (2) sales at Company restaurants; (ii) franchise revenues, consisting primarily of royalties based on a percentage of sales reported by franchised restaurants and franchise fees paid by franchisees; (iii) property revenues from properties we lease or sublease to franchisees; and (iv) advertising revenues and other services, consisting primarily of (1) advertising fund contributions based on a percentage of sales reported by franchised restaurants to fund advertising expenses and (2) tech fees and revenues that vary by market and partially offset expenses related to technology initiatives.
Operating costs and expenses for our segments include:
cost of sales comprised of (i) costs associated with the management of our Tim Hortons supply chain, including cost of goods, direct labor, depreciation, and cost of CPG products sold to retailers as well as (ii) food, paper and labor costs of Company restaurants;
franchise and property expenses comprised primarily of depreciation of properties leased to franchisees, rental expense associated with properties subleased to franchisees, amortization of franchise agreements, and bad debt expense (recoveries);
advertising expenses and other services comprised primarily of expenses relating to marketing, advertising and promotion, including market research, production, advertising costs, sales promotions, social media campaigns, technology initiatives, depreciation and amortization and other related support functions for the respective brands. We generally manage advertising expenses to equal advertising revenues in the long term, however in some periods there may be a mismatch in the timing of revenues and expenses or higher expenses due to our support initiatives behind marketing programs; and
segment general and administrative expenses (“Segment G&A”) comprised primarily of salary and employee-related costs for non-restaurant employees, professional fees, information technology systems, general overhead for our corporate offices, share-based compensation and non-cash incentive compensation expense, and depreciation and amortization.
Firehouse Acquisition
We completed the acquisition of Firehouse Subs on December 15, 2021 for total consideration of approximately $1,016 million (the “Firehouse Acquisition”). Our 2023 and 2022 consolidated statement of operations includes FHS revenues and segment income for a full fiscal year. Our 2021 consolidated statement of operations included FHS revenues and segment income from the acquisition date of December 15, 2021 through December 26, 2021, the 2021 fiscal year end for FHS.
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Key Operating Metrics
We evaluate our restaurants and assess our business based on the following operating metrics:
System-wide sales growth refers to the percentage change in sales at all franchised restaurants and Company restaurants (referred to as system-wide sales) in one period from the same period in the prior year.
Comparable sales refers to the percentage change in restaurant sales in one period from the same prior year period for restaurants that have been open for 13 months or longer for Tim Hortons, Burger King and Firehouse Subs and 17 months or longer for Popeyes. Additionally, if a restaurant is closed for a significant portion of a month, the restaurant is excluded from the monthly comparable sales calculation.
System-wide sales growth and comparable sales are measured on a constant currency basis, which means the results exclude the effect of foreign currency translation (“FX Impact”). For system-wide sales growth and comparable sales, we calculate the FX Impact by translating prior year results at current year monthly average exchange rates.
Unless otherwise stated, system-wide sales growth, system-wide sales and comparable sales are presented on a system-wide basis, which means they include franchised restaurants and Company restaurants. System-wide results are driven by our franchised restaurants, as nearly all system-wide restaurants are franchised. Franchise sales represent sales at all franchised restaurants and are revenues to our franchisees. We do not record franchise sales as revenues; however, our royalty revenues and advertising fund contributions are calculated based on a percentage of franchise sales.
Net restaurant growth refers to the net change in restaurant count (openings, net of permanent closures) over a trailing twelve month period, divided by the restaurant count at the beginning of the trailing twelve month period. In determining whether a restaurant meets our definition of a restaurant that will be included in our net restaurant growth, we consider factors such as scope of operations, format and image, separate franchise agreement, and minimum sales thresholds. We refer to restaurants that do not meet our definition as “alternative formats.” These alternative formats are helpful to build brand awareness, test new concepts and provide convenience in certain markets.
These metrics are important indicators of the overall direction of our business, including trends in sales and the effectiveness of each brand’s marketing, operations and growth initiatives.
In our 2022 financial reports, our key operating metrics included results from our franchised Burger King restaurants in Russia, with supplemental disclosure provided excluding these restaurants. We did not generate any new profits from restaurants in Russia in 2022 and 2023. Consequently, beginning in the first quarter of 2023, our reported key operating metrics exclude the results from Russia for 2023 and 2022. Key operating metrics for 2021 include the results from Russia.

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The following table presents our key operating metrics for each of the periods indicated, which have been derived from our internal records. We evaluate our restaurants and assess our business based on these operating metrics. These metrics may differ from those used by other companies in our industry who may define these metrics differently.
Key Business Metrics202320222021
System-wide sales growth
TH 11.0 %11.7 %10.4 %
BK 6.9 %2.8 %4.2 %
PLK 10.5 %5.6 %4.8 %
FHS (b)7.1 %N/AN/A
INTL (c)17.6 %25.6 %28.9 %
Consolidated (a)12.2 %12.9 %13.8 %
FHS (b)N/A4.2 %25.1 %
System-wide sales ($ in millions)
TH $7,245 $6,732 $6,243 
BK $11,474 $10,747 $10,475 
PLK $5,886 $5,338 $5,086 
FHS (b)$1,194 $1,154 N/A
INTL (c)$17,087 $14,700 $13,691 
Consolidated (a)$42,886 $38,671 $35,495 
FHS (b)N/AN/A$1,091 
Comparable sales
TH 10.4 %10.4 %10.6 %
BK 7.4 %2.3 %4.8 %
PLK 4.8 %(0.6)%(1.9)%
FHS (b)3.8 %N/AN/A
INTL (c)9.0 %15.4 %14.2 %
Consolidated (a)8.1 %7.9 %7.9 %
FHS (b)N/A0.6 %20.9 %
Net restaurant growth
TH 0.1 %(1.1)%0.5 %
BK (3.3)%(0.6)%0.7 %
PLK 4.9 %6.7 %6.4 %
FHS (b)3.0 %2.4 %N/A
INTL (c)8.9 %9.1 %7.8 %
Consolidated (a)3.9 %4.4 %4.5 %
FHS (b)N/AN/A1.6 %
System Restaurant count
TH 4,525 4,519 4,571 
BK 7,144 7,389 7,433 
PLK 3,394 3,235 3,031 
FHS (b)1,265 1,242 1,213 
INTL (c)14,742 13,517 13,208 
Consolidated (d)31,070 29,902 29,456 
(a)Consolidated system-wide sales growth and consolidated comparable sales do not include the results of Firehouse Subs for 2022 and 2021. Consolidated system-wide sales and consolidated net restaurant growth do not include the results of Firehouse Subs for 2021.
(b)For 2022, FHS system-wide sales growth, system-wide sales, comparable sales and net restaurant growth are for the period from December 27, 2021 through December 31, 2022. FHS 2022 system-wide sales growth and comparable sales figures are shown for information purposes only. FHS figures for 2021 are shown for informational purposes only, consistent with its 2021 fiscal calendar. FHS system-wide sales and restaurant count include 14 FHS restaurants in Puerto Rico ("FHS PR") in 2022 and 2021 but not in 2023.
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For the purpose of calculating 2023 FHS system-wide sales growth, comparable sales and net restaurant growth, we exclude FHS PR in both the current and prior year periods.
(c)INTL includes FHS PR beginning January 1, 2023. For the purposes of calculating 2023 INTL system-wide sales growth, comparable sales and net restaurant growth, we include FHS PR in both the current and prior year periods.
(d)As of December 31, 2023, we had 342 alternative format units open, which primarily includes TH self-serves and Tims Express outlets in China, which are not included in restaurant count.

Macro Economic Environment
During 2023 and 2022, there were increases in commodity, labor, and energy costs partially due to the macroeconomic impact of the War in Ukraine and residual impacts from COVID-19. This has resulted in increases in inflation, foreign exchange volatility, rising interest rates and general softening in the consumer environment which have been exacerbated by conflicts in the Middle East. These pressures could have an adverse impact on our business and results of operations if we and our franchisees are not able to manage costs effectively without negatively impacting consumers.
In addition, the global crisis resulting from the spread of COVID-19 impacted our restaurant operations during 2022 and 2021. Certain markets, including Canada and China, were significantly impacted as a result of governments mandated lockdowns. These lockdowns, which have since been lifted, resulted in restrictions to restaurant operations, such as reduced, if any, dine-in capacity, and/or restrictions on hours of operation in those markets.
Consolidated Results of Operations for 2023, 2022 and 2021
Tabular amounts in millions of U.S. dollars unless noted otherwise. Total revenues and segment income for each segment may not calculate exactly due to rounding.
    2023 vs. 20222022 vs. 2021
Consolidated202320222021VarianceFX
Impact (a)
Variance
Excluding
FX Impact
VarianceFX
Impact
Variance
Excluding
FX Impact
    Favorable / (Unfavorable)
Revenues:
Sales$2,950 $2,819 $2,378 $131 $(79)$210 $441 $(79)$520 
Franchise and property revenues2,903 2,661 2,443 242 (33)275 218 (84)302 
Advertising revenues and other services1,169 1,025 918 144 (6)150 107 (11)118 
Total revenues7,022 6,505 5,739 517 (118)635 766 (174)940 
Operating costs and expenses:
Cost of sales2,435 2,312 1,890 (123)63 (186)(422)62 (484)
Franchise and property expenses512 518 489 11 (5)(29)12 (41)
Advertising expenses and other services1,273 1,077 986 (196)(203)(91)13 (104)
General and administrative expenses704 631 484 (73)— (73)(147)10 (157)
(Income) loss from equity method investments(8)44 52 — 52 (40)(1)(39)
Other operating expenses (income), net55 25 (30)— (30)(18)(9)(9)
Total operating costs and expenses4,971 4,607 3,860 (364)81 (445)(747)87 (834)
Income from operations2,051 1,898 1,879 153 (37)190 19 (87)106 
Interest expense, net582 533 505 (49)(50)(28)(29)
Loss on early extinguishment of debt16 — 11 (16)— (16)11 — 11 
Income before income taxes1,453 1,365 1,363 88 (36)124 (86)88 
Income tax (benefit) expense(265)(117)110 148 146 227 223 
Net income$1,718 $1,482 $1,253 $236 $(34)$270 $229 $(82)$311 
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(a)We calculate the FX Impact by translating prior year results at current year monthly average exchange rates. We analyze these results on a constant currency basis as this helps identify underlying business trends, without distortion from the effects of currency movements.
Sales and Cost of Sales
During 2023, the increase in sales was primarily driven by an increase of $173 million in our TH segment, an increase of $26 million in our BK segment and an increase of $11 million in our PLK segment, partially offset by an unfavorable FX Impact of $79 million.
During 2022, the increase in sales was primarily driven by an increase of $460 million in our TH segment, an increase of $38 million in our FHS segment reflecting a full year, an increase of $14 million in our PLK segment, and an increase of $6 million in our BK segment, partially offset by an unfavorable FX Impact of $79 million.
During 2023, the increase in cost of sales was primarily driven by an increase of $163 million in our TH segment, an increase of $17 million in our BK segment and an increase of $8 million in our PLK segment, partially offset by a favorable FX Impact of $63 million.
During 2022, the increase in cost of sales was primarily driven by an increase of $428 million in our TH segment, an increase of $34 million in our FHS segment reflecting a full year, an increase of $14 million in our PLK segment, and an increase of $7 million in our BK segment, partially offset by a favorable FX Impact of $62 million.
Franchise and Property
During 2023, the increase in franchise and property revenues was primarily driven by an increase of $108 million in our INTL segment, an increase of $79 million in our TH segment, an increase of $44 million in our BK segment, an increase of $30 million in our PLK segment, and an increase of $14 million in our FHS segment, partially offset by an unfavorable FX Impact of $33 million.
During 2022, the increase in franchise and property revenues was primarily driven by an increase of $105 million in our INTL segment, an increase of $82 million in our FHS segment reflecting a full year, an increase of $81 million in our TH segment, an increase of $20 million in our PLK segment, and an increase of $15 million in our BK segment, partially offset by an unfavorable FX Impact of $84 million.
During 2023, franchise and property expenses remained relatively consistent with 2022.
During 2022, the increase in franchise and property expenses was primarily driven by an increase of $17 million in our INTL segment, an increase of $8 million in our BK segment, an increase of $7 million in our TH segment, and an increase of $6 million in our FHS segment reflecting a full year, partially offset by a favorable FX impact of $12 million.
Advertising and Other Services
During 2023, the increase in advertising revenues and other services was primarily driven by an increase of $35 million in our FHS segment, an increase of $34 million in our TH segment, an increase of $32 million in our BK segment, an increase of $32 million in our PLK segment, and an increase of $17 million in our INTL segment, partially offset by an unfavorable FX Impact of $6 million.
During 2022, the increase in advertising revenues and other services was primarily driven by an increase of $45 million in our TH segment, an increase of $26 million in our PLK segment, an increase of $20 million in our BK segment, an increase of $13 million in our FHS segment reflecting a full year, and an increase of $13 million in our INTL segment, partially offset by an unfavorable FX Impact of $11 million.
During 2023, the increase in advertising expenses and other services was primarily driven by an increase of $76 million in our BK segment, an increase of $37 million in our FHS segment, an increase of $35 million in our TH segment, an increase of $34 million in our PLK segment, and an increase of $19 million in our INTL segment, partially offset by a favorable FX Impact of $7 million.
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During 2022, the increase in advertising expenses and other services was primarily driven by an increase of $35 million in our BK segment, an increase of $28 million in our PLK segment, an increase of $14 million in our INTL segment, an increase of $14 million in our TH segment, and an increase of $12 million in our FHS segment reflecting a full year, partially offset by a favorable FX Impact of $13 million.
General and Administrative Expenses
Our general and administrative expenses were comprised of the following:
    2023 vs. 20222022 vs. 2021
 202320222021$%$%
    Favorable / (Unfavorable)
Segment G&A (b):
TH$168 $151 $133 $(17)(11)%$(18)(14)%
BK145 126 110 (19)(15)%(16)(15)%
PLK86 72 64 (14)(19)%(8)(13)%
FHS58 52 (6)(12)%(51)NM
INTL190 160 142 (30)(19)%(18)(13)%
FHS Transaction costs19 24 18 21 %(6)(33)%
Corporate restructuring and advisory fees38 46 16 17 %(30)(188)%
General and administrative expenses $704 $631 $484 $(73)(12)%$(147)(30)%
NM - Not meaningful
(b)Segment G&A includes share-based compensation and non-cash incentive compensation expense of $194 million, $136 million and $102 million for 2023, 2022 and 2021, respectively. Segment G&A excludes income/expenses from non-recurring projects and non-operating activities, such as FHS Transaction costs and Corporate restructuring and advisory fees (both as defined below).
During 2023, the increase in general and administrative expenses was primarily driven by higher share-based compensation and non-cash incentive compensation as well as higher salary and employee-related costs for non-restaurant employees, largely a result of hiring across a number of key areas including operations and franchising. During 2022, the increase in general and administrative expenses was primarily driven by higher salary and employee-related costs for non-restaurant employees, largely a result of hiring across a number of key areas including operations and franchising, the increase in Segment G&A for our FHS segment driven by a full year of results in 2022 and an increase in share-based compensation and non-cash incentive compensation.
During 2023 and 2022, the increases in share-based compensation and non-cash incentive compensation expense were primarily due to an increase in equity awards granted during 2023 and 2022, including equity awards granted to our executive chairman during the fourth quarter of 2022, an increase in expenses related to previously granted performance-based equity awards recognized in 2023, and the non-recurrence of equity award forfeitures during 2021. In addition, the increase in share-based compensation and non-cash incentive compensation expense was also impacted by shorter vesting periods for equity awards granted beginning in 2021.
In connection with the Firehouse Acquisition, we incurred certain non-recurring fees and expenses (“FHS Transaction costs”) consisting of professional fees, compensation related expenses and integration costs. We do not expect to incur additional FHS Transaction costs in the future.
In connection with certain transformational corporate restructuring initiatives that rationalize our structure and optimize cash movement within our structure as well as services related to significant tax reform legislation and regulations, we incurred non-operating expenses primarily from professional advisory and consulting services (“Corporate restructuring and advisory fees”). The decrease in Corporate restructuring and advisory fees in 2023 reflects decreased costs associated with corporate restructuring initiatives in 2023 compared to 2022. The increase in Corporate restructuring and advisory fees in 2022 reflects increased costs associated with finalizing restructuring initiatives and execution of restructuring actions in 2022 compared to primarily planning activities in 2021.
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(Income) Loss from Equity Method Investments
(Income) loss from equity method investments reflects our share of investee net income or loss, non-cash dilution gains or losses from changes in our ownership interests in equity method investees and impairment charges.
During 2023, the change in (income) loss from equity method investments was primarily related to our share of a gain recognized by one of our Burger King joint ventures on the sale of equity shares the joint venture held in a subsidiary and the non-recurrence of an impairment charge that we recognized in 2022. For additional information on equity method impairment charges, see Note 6, Equity Method Investments”, of the notes to the consolidated financial statements included in Part II, Item 8 “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of our Annual Report.
During 2022, the change in (income) loss from equity method investments was primarily driven by an increase in equity method investment net losses and an impairment charge that we recognized in 2022.
Other Operating Expenses (Income), net
Our other operating expenses (income), net were comprised of the following:
202320222021
Net losses (gains) on disposal of assets, restaurant closures and refranchisings$16 $$
Litigation settlements and reserves, net11 81 
Net losses (gains) on foreign exchange20 (4)(76)
Other, net18 14 — 
Other operating expenses (income), net$55 $25 $
Net losses (gains) on disposal of assets, restaurant closures, and refranchisings represent sales of properties and other costs related to restaurant closures and refranchisings. Gains and losses recognized in the current period may reflect certain costs related to closures and refranchisings that occurred in previous periods. The amount for 2023 includes asset write-offs and related costs in connection with the discontinuance of an internally developed software project.
Litigation settlements and reserves, net primarily reflects accruals and payments made and proceeds received in connection with litigation and arbitration matters and other business disputes.
In early 2022, we entered into negotiations to resolve business disputes that arose during 2021 with counterparties to the master franchise agreements for Burger King and Popeyes in China. Based on these discussions, we paid approximately $100 million in 2022, $5 million and $72 million of which was recorded as Litigation settlements and reserves, net in 2022 and 2021, respectively. The majority of this amount related to Popeyes, resolved our disputes, and allowed us to move forward in the market with a new master franchisee. Additionally, pursuant to this agreement we and our partners made equity contributions to the Burger King business in China.
Net losses (gains) on foreign exchange are primarily related to revaluation of foreign denominated assets and liabilities.
Other, net for 2023 and 2022 are primarily related to payments in connection with FHS area representative buyouts.
Interest Expense, net
202320222021
Interest expense, net$582 $533 $505 
Weighted average interest rate on long-term debt5.0 %4.4 %4.2 %
During 2023, interest expense, net increased primarily due to an increase in the weighted average interest rate driven by increases in interest rates which impacts our variable rate debt and the impact of our September 2023 term loan refinancing.
During 2022, interest expense, net increased primarily due to an increase in long-term debt and an increase in the weighted average interest rate driven by increases in interest rates which impacts our variable debt.
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Income Tax Expense
Our effective tax rate was (18.2)% in 2023 and (8.6)% in 2022. The effective tax rate for 2023 reflects a $367 million increase in net deferred tax assets related to non-refundable tax credits and certain intangibles recognized in connection with intra-group reorganizations centralizing the management of various international business and financing operations, which reduced the effective tax rate by 25.3%. The effective tax rate for 2023 and 2022 includes a net decrease in tax reserves of $91 million and $364 million, respectively, related primarily to expiring statutes of limitations for certain prior tax years which decreased the effective tax rate by 6.2% and 26.7%, respectively. Additionally, our effective tax rate for 2023 was favorably impacted by structural changes implemented in the latter part of 2022.
Our effective tax rate was (8.6)% in 2022 and 8.1% in 2021. The effective tax rate for 2022 and 2021 include net decreases in tax reserves of $364 million and $101 million, respectively, related primarily to expiring statutes of limitations for certain prior tax years which decreased the effective tax rate by 26.7% and 7.4%, respectively. The effective tax rates for 2022 and 2021 also reflect the mix of income from multiple tax jurisdictions, and the impact of internal financing arrangements and structural changes.
Net Income
We reported net income of $1,718 million for 2023 compared to net income of $1,482 million for 2022. The increase in net income is primarily due to a $148 million increase in income tax benefit, a $72 million increase in INTL segment income, a $53 million favorable change from the impact of equity method investments, a $33 million increase in TH segment income, a $16 million increase in PLK segment income, an $8 million decrease in Corporate restructuring and advisory fees, a $5 million decrease in FHS Transaction costs, a $5 million increase in FHS segment income and a $1 million decrease in franchise agreement amortization. These factors were partially offset by a $49 million increase in interest expense, net, a $30 million increase in other operating expenses (income), net, $16 million loss on early extinguishment of debt in the current year, and a $10.0 million decrease in BK segment income. Amounts above include a total unfavorable FX Impact to net income of $34 million.
We reported net income of $1,482 million for 2022 compared to net income of $1,253 million for 2021. The increase in net income is primarily due to an income tax benefit of $117 million in 2022 compared to an income tax expense of $110 million in 2021, an $80 million increase in TH segment income, a $31 million increase in FHS segment income reflecting a full year, a $14 million increase in INTL segment income, the non-recurrence of an $11 million loss on early extinguishment of debt, and a $7 million increase in PLK segment income. These factors were partially offset by a $34 million unfavorable change from the impact of equity method investments, a $30 million increase in Corporate restructuring and advisory fees, a $28 million increase in interest expense, net, a $25 million decrease in BK segment income, an $18 million increase in other operating expenses (income), net, and a $6 million increase in FHS Transaction costs. Amounts above include a total unfavorable FX Impact to net income of $82 million.
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Segment Results of Operations for 2023, 2022 and 2021
    2023 vs. 20222022 vs. 2021
TH Segment202320222021VarianceFX
Impact (a)
Variance
Excluding
FX Impact
VarianceFX
Impact
Variance
Excluding
FX Impact
    Favorable / (Unfavorable)
Revenues:
Sales$2,725 $2,631 $2,249 $94 $(79)$173 $381 $(78)$460 
Franchise and property revenues955 905 853 50 (28)79 52 (29)81 
Advertising revenues and other services292 266 229 26 (8)34 37 (8)45 
Total revenues3,972 3,801 3,331 171 (115)286 470 (116)586 
Cost of sales2,231 2,131 1,765 (100)63 (163)(366)62 (428)
Franchise and property expenses325 332 336 11 (4)11 (7)
Advertising expenses and other services309 282 277 (27)(35)(5)10 (14)
Segment G&A (a)168 151 133 (17)(22)(18)(22)
Adjustments:
Franchise agreement amortization (b)— — — (1)— (1)
Cash distributions received from equity method investments14 13 17 — — (4)(1)(3)
Segment income958 925 845 33 (28)61 80 (30)110 
(a)Segment G&A includes share-based compensation and non-cash incentive compensation expense of $51 million, $37 million and $32 million for 2023, 2022 and 2021, respectively.
(b)Franchise agreement amortization is included in franchise and property expenses.

System-wide Sales
During 2023, the increase in TH system-wide sales of 11.0% was primarily driven by comparable sales of 10.4%, including Canada comparable sales of 10.9%, and net restaurant growth of 0.1%.
Sales and Cost of Sales
During 2023 and 2022, the increases in sales were primarily driven by increases in supply chain sales due to increases in system-wide sales as well as increases in commodity prices passed on to franchisees and increases in CPG sales, partially offset by an unfavorable FX Impact.
During 2023 and 2022, the increases in cost of sales were primarily driven by increases in supply chain sales and CPG sales, as well as increases in commodity prices, partially offset by a favorable FX Impact.
Franchise and Property
During 2023 and 2022, the increases in franchise and property revenues were primarily driven by increases in royalties and rent, as a result of increases in system-wide sales, partially offset by an unfavorable FX Impact.
During 2023 and 2022, franchise and property expenses remained relatively consistent with the prior year.
Advertising and Other Services
During 2023 and 2022, the increases in advertising revenues and other services were driven by increases in advertising fund contributions by franchisees, as a result of increases in system-wide sales, and, to a lesser extent for 2023, revenues from new product and service launches, partially offset by an unfavorable FX Impact.
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During 2023, the increase in advertising expenses and other services was driven primarily by expenses related to new product and service launches as well as increases in advertising revenues and other services. During 2022, the increase in advertising expenses and other services was driven primarily by increases in advertising revenues and other services. Additionally, during 2022, the increase was partially offset by the non-recurrence of our support behind the marketing program in Canada during 2021.
Segment G&A
During 2023, the increase in Segment G&A was primarily driven by higher share-based compensation and non-cash incentive compensation, partially offset by a favorable FX Impact.
During 2022, the increase in Segment G&A was primarily driven by an increase in professional services, higher share-based compensation and non-cash incentive compensation and higher salary and employee-related costs for non-restaurant employees, partially offset by a favorable FX Impact.
    2023 vs. 20222022 vs. 2021
BK Segment202320222021VarianceFX
Impact (a)
Variance
Excluding
FX Impact
VarianceFX
Impact
Variance
Excluding
FX Impact
    Favorable / (Unfavorable)
Revenues:
Sales$97 $70 $64 $26 $— $26 $$— $
Franchise and property revenues731 688 674 43 (1)44 14 (1)15 
Advertising revenues and other services470 438 419 32 (1)32 19 (1)20 
Total revenues1,297 1,196 1,156 101 (2)103 40 (2)42 
Cost of sales90 74 66 (17)— (17)(7)— (7)
Franchise and property expenses144 144 137 — — — (7)— (8)
Advertising expenses and other services543 467 433 (75)(76)(35)(35)
Segment G&A (a)145 126 110 (19)— (19)(16)— (16)
Adjustments:
Franchise agreement amortization (b)11 11 11 — — — — — — 
Segment income386 396 421 (10)(1)(9)(25)(1)(24)
(a)Segment G&A includes share-based compensation and non-cash incentive compensation expense of $41 million, $30 million and $25 million for 2023, 2022 and 2021, respectively.
System-wide Sales
During 2023, the increase in BK system-wide sales of 6.9% was primarily driven by comparable sales of 7.4%, including US comparable sales of 7.5%, partially offset by net restaurant growth of (3.3)%.
Sales and Cost of Sales
During 2023, the increases in sales and cost of sales was primarily driven by increases in Company restaurants due to franchisee restaurant acquisitions during 2023.
During 2022, sales and cost of sales remained relatively consistent with the prior year.
Franchise and Property
During 2023 and 2022, the increases in franchise and property revenues were primarily driven by increases in royalties, as a result of increases in system-wide sales.
During 2023, franchise and property expenses remained consistent with the prior year. During 2022, the increase in franchise and property expenses was primarily related to bad debt expenses in 2022 compared to bad debt recoveries in 2021.
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Advertising and Other Services
During 2023 and 2022, the increases in advertising revenues and other services were primarily driven by increases in advertising fund contributions by franchisees, as a result of increases in system-wide sales.
During 2023 and 2022, the increases in advertising expenses and other services were driven primarily by increases in advertising revenues and other services, increases in expenses related to our support behind the marketing program in the U.S. and technology initiatives.
Segment G&A
During 2023, the increase in Segment G&A was primarily driven by higher share-based compensation and non-cash incentive compensation as well as higher salary and employee-related costs for non-restaurant employees, largely a result of hiring across a number of key areas including operations and franchising.
During 2022, the increase in Segment G&A was primarily driven by higher salary and employee-related costs for non-restaurant employees, largely a result of hiring across a number of key areas including operations and franchising, and higher share-based compensation and non-cash incentive compensation.
2023 vs. 20222022 vs. 2021
PLK Segment202320222021VarianceFX
Impact (a)
Variance
Excluding
FX Impact
VarianceFX
Impact
Variance
Excluding
FX Impact
 Favorable / (Unfavorable)
Revenues:
Sales$89 $78 $64 $11 $— $11 $14 $— $14 
Franchise and property revenues314 284 265 30 (1)30 19 (1)20 
Advertising revenues and other services289 256 230 32 — 32 26 — 26 
Total revenues692 619 559 73 (1)74 60 (1)60 
Cost of sales80 72 58 (8)— (8)(14)— (14)
Franchise and property expenses12 11 (1)— (1)(3)— (3)
Advertising expenses and other services295 261 233 (34)— (34)(28)— (28)
Segment G&A (a)86 72 64 (14)— (14)(8)— (8)
Adjustments:
Franchise agreement amortization (b)— — — — — — 
Segment income221 205 198 16 — 16 (1)
(a)Segment G&A includes share-based compensation and non-cash incentive compensation expense of $26 million, $20 million, and $14 million for 2023, 2022 and 2021, respectively.
System-wide Sales
During 2023, the increase in PLK system-wide sales of 10.5% was primarily driven by comparable sales of 4.8%, including US comparable sales of 4.8%, and net restaurant growth of 4.9%.
Sales and Cost of Sales
During 2023 and 2022, the increases in sales and cost of sales was primarily driven by increases in comparable sales for Company restaurants.
Franchise and Property
During 2023 and 2022, the increases in franchise and property revenues were primarily driven by increases in royalties, as a result of increases in system-wide sales.
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During 2023 and 2022, franchise and property expenses remained relatively consistent with the prior year.
Advertising and Other Services
During 2023 and 2022, the increases in advertising revenues and other services were primarily driven by increases in advertising fund contributions by franchisees, as a result of increases in system-wide sales.
During 2023 and 2022, the increases in advertising expenses and other services were primarily driven by increases in advertising revenues and other services.
Segment G&A
During 2023 and 2022, the increases in Segment G&A were primarily driven by higher share-based compensation and non-cash incentive compensation as well as higher salary and employee-related costs for non-restaurant employees, largely a result of hiring across a number of key areas including operations and franchising.
2023 vs. 20222022 vs. 2021
FHS Segment202320222021