Restaurant Brands International (RBI), which owns the iconic fast food chain, Burger King, is purchasing the burger shop’s largest franchisee in the U.S. for a whopping $1 billion in cash.
RBI’s purchase of Carrols Restaurant Group is expected to be completed by the end of Q2 2024 and will also include an additional $500 million in investments to update and remodel more than 1,000 Carrols-owned locations.
Carrols Restaurant Groups generated approximately $1.8 billion of system sales during the one-year period that ended on September 30, 202, Restaurant Brands said in a release. The restaurant group operates in 23 U.S. states including North Carolina, New York, Ohio and Tennessee.
The new deal is part of RBI’s attempt to revitalize the Burger King brand and accelerate sales growth in a plan called “Reclaim the Flame,” which, per the release, will double down on new and existing technology, invest in digital, and improve operations and marketing in an attempt to turn business around for the fast-food chain.
In 2020, Wendy’s took over the No. 2 ranking of largest burger chain from Burger King, and in 2023 two major operators filed for bankruptcy. The chain also closed hundreds of stores last year.
“Carrols has demonstrated strong and improving restaurant operations over the years. This acquisition is an exciting accelerator to our ‘Reclaim the Flame’ plan that is focused on relentlessly pursuing a better experience for our Guests,” Tom Curtis, President of Burger King U.S. and Canada said in a release. “We are going to rapidly remodel these restaurants over the next five years or so and put them back into the hands of motivated, local franchisees to create amazing experiences for our Guests.”
Burger King announced its plan to improve restaurants in September 2022 by revealing that it would be investing $400 million into updating restaurants and advertising.
However, in Q3 2023, Restaurant Brands reported that U.S. business for Burger King remained flat while same-store sales grew 7.2%.
“Back in the last few quarters, we had been behind the industry in terms of our same-store traffic, and that’s been progressively getting better every quarter since last year,” Restaurant Brands CEO Josh Kobza told CNBC at the time. “So it was a big milestone for us now to get to flat traffic.”
Restaurant Brands International was up 14% in a one-year period as of Tuesday afternoon.