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Restaurant Brands CEO 'Optimistic' About Burger King Parent Company After Meeting With Trump

U.S.

Benzinga · 05/19/2020 14:47

U.S. President Donald Trump met with restaurant and industry experts Monday, including Restaurant Brands International Inc (NYSE: QSR) CEO José Cil who described the gathering as "extraordinary."

What Happened

Restaurant leaders were given the opportunity to "share all of our experiences" over the past 60 days and "all the challenges we are facing," Cil said on CNBC's "Closing Bell."

One of the common themes across the participants was the importance of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for franchisees who are small business owners, he said. 

The industry executives also pitched on how the PPP can be improved, including an extension of the eight-week deadline to spend the loans to 24 weeks, the CEO said. The extension would give franchisees in areas that are slower to re-open more time to rehire staff, he said. 

"It was very feasible and I think very executable to extend the timeline."  

Why It's Important

The White House was "very open" to the idea of extending the eight week deadline although there is a "political process" that needs to take place before changes are made into law, Cil said.

Yet it comes down to a "technical adjustment" to the regulations, so the restaurant group is "hopeful," the CEO said. 

What's Next For Restaurant Brands 

More than 10,000 of the company's Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons' chains remained open for business across North America throughout the start of the pandemic, Cil said.

While the service was limited to off-premise dining, around 1,200 restaurants are either fully open or planning for a reopening, he said. 

It's difficult to offer any specific outlook moving forward other than to say the company is "really optimistic, really excited," Cil said.

Restaurant Brands shares were down 1.97% at $51.36 at the time of publication Tuesday.

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