Burger King's $1 Billion Bet on the Future of Fast Food Might Just Work

The fast food giant is acquiring its largest franchisee as part of a major revamp.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Burger King restaurant

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Burger King, the iconic fast-food giant, is set to make waves in the industry as its parent company, Restaurant Brands International Inc., announces a remarkable move in acquiring its largest franchisee, Carrols Restaurant Group Inc., in a deal totaling around $1 billion. 

The fast food giant is going to also reinvest a lot of money back into those stores as it looks to help push the brand forward and better compete in certain markets. 

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Burger King is buying out its largest franchisee

In a move that echoes across the fast-food landscape, Restaurant Brands International Inc., the parent company of Burger King, is set to acquire all outstanding shares of Carrols Restaurant Group Inc., its largest U.S. franchisee. 

The $1 billion deal, valued at $9.55 per share, will pave the way for Burger King to streamline its operations and take direct control of approximately 15% of its U.S. locations. That's a significant footprint for a franchisor. 

The acquisition includes not only Burger King outlets but also 60 Popeyes restaurants currently operated by Carrols.

Why this might be good for you

The acquisition could bring a fresh perspective and operational efficiency to Burger King locations, especially considering Carrols' historical prowess as a superior franchise operator. 

Despite challenges in the market, Carrols has demonstrated resilient sales, outpacing the overall U.S. Burger King system. With Restaurant Brands taking the reins, the move is seen as a strategic step to speed up the renovation efforts of Burger King restaurants, aligning them with more modern consumer expectations.

All in all, this might mean better-looking stores, better customer service, and a better overall experience for you if you end up visiting one of these locations in the future. 

BK is reinvesting money into 600 locations

As part of a broader strategy, Restaurant Brands plans to invest an additional $500 million, utilizing Carrols' operating cash flow, to remodel about 600 of the acquired restaurants. 

This substantial reinvestment aims to transform the dining experience, making Burger King establishments more modern, convenient, and competitive. The ambitious renovation project is expected to be completed within five to seven years, with the remaining restaurants to be retained in the company portfolio.

This is a great sign for those living within the footprint of these stores as it's a sign that the franchisor is doing this to improve the overall brand and experience for customers, so you enjoy your time and feel like you're saving money while shopping for your fast food.

Burger King’s big plan

The acquisition is set to affect Burger King locations across 23 states and impacts over 27,000 employees. While there has been no announcement about whether these employees will be affected, the purchase is part of a larger effort to overhaul Burger King’s brand and image. 

The states that will be primarily impacted include New York (where Carrols was based), North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Indiana. If you live in these areas you might want to prepare yourself financially so you can enjoy the restaurants frequently as the reported changes come. 

Burger King remains second in the world only to McDonald’s in global fast-food burger chains, and the acquisition is part of a plan to make Burger King’s base more competitive. 

Restaurant Brands’ portfolio also includes Popeyes, Firehouse Subs, and Tim Hortons alongside Burger King.

Bottom line

Burger King's strategic move to acquire its largest U.S. franchisee, Carrols Restaurant Group Inc., unveils a transformative chapter for the fast-food giant. The infusion of capital, coupled with the ambitious renovation plans, signals a commitment to staying competitive in the dynamic and ever-evolving fast-food landscape. 

As Restaurant Brands International Inc. takes charge, the potential for an upgraded and modernized Burger King experience emerges, promising a new era for one of the world's most iconic fast-food brands. 

The deal, expected to close in the second quarter, sets the stage for Burger King to gain a competitive edge and create potential value for investors.

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Author Details

Georgina Tzanetos Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who has been active in financial media for the past six years. She holds a master's in political economy from NYU, where she studied distressed labor markets.