How Burger King Is Really Treating Its Employees During The Pandemic

Burger King, home of the flame grilled Whopper, is the long-time fast food staple that introduced us to Chicken Fries and gave fame to the concept that fast food burgers could even be meat-free. With over 7,400 restaurants in the United States and Canada (via Statista), we have come to expect many policies and practices to be shared across these North American restaurants. In actuality, however, BK is based on a franchise system which means that different restaurants may have different policies — such as how they treat employees. Recently, one of the largest franchise owners announced a policy that felt highly contrary to community efforts during the pandemic. Carrols Restaurant Group announced it was cutting worker pay by 10 percent across its 1,000 restaurants.

The backlash was harsh and swift. So harsh, in fact, that the group quickly reversed course. "I heard you and I made a mistake that we will now rectify before any action has taken place," stated CEO Dan Accordino to employees (via Motley Fool).

Burger King's corporate policy looks to put employees first

And while a large Burger King franchise may have stumbled, the corporate owners of the chain, Restaurant Brands International (RBI), have put forth an entirely different strategy. In an open letter from the CEO, José Cil details his new pandemic-focused policies. Employees at both Burger King and Popeye's in North America will get two weeks paid sick leave for COVID-related illness. In addition, team members who provide services during the month of April across RBI's brands will receive a special (as yet unnamed) reward. The company also announced increased hygiene practices to promote both employee and patron safety, including increased access to hand washing and hand sanitizer, as well as ordering 15,000 infrared thermometers. Staff members will be using the onsite thermometers to send home employees who register at 100.3 or above for testing (via Business Insider).

While it's been difficult to watch some BK franchises stumble, it's good to know that the larger corporate employer is making efforts to increase and improve employee welfare.