Coronavirus lockdowns 'accelerated' innovation, Burger King, Popeyes, Tim Hortons parent says

'Despite the challenges we're facing, there's hope,' Restaurant Brands International CEO said

Although coronavirus lockdowns have been difficult for many restaurants and small businesses, Jose Cil, Restaurant Brands International CEO told "Mornings with Maria" they have helped with innovation.

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Leading Burger King, Popeyes, and Tim Hortons, Cil said drive-thru service and delivery has increased significantly over the last 10 months and he expects it to continue when the pandemic is over.

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"The situation is definitely challenging," Cil told host Maria Bartiromo. "Consumer behaviors are changing, mobility is limited, disposable income has been impacted pretty significantly, and on the small business front, on the restaurant front, there's a ton of uncertainty, given the changes in consumer behavior with the lockdowns and our franchisees, our small business owners, are facing difficulties as a result."

However, Cil added, there has also been "a lot of innovation in the industry for some time that's been accelerated throughout the pandemic."

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Despite the challenges restaurants are facing, he added, "there's hope."

"People look to the vaccine, of course, as one part of it, but all the innovation, all the changes that have taken place, the persistence and resilience of the team members and small business owners, I think has been pretty incredible to see and I think that's what's going to help the restaurant industry continue to thrive longterm heading into 2021."

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Cil said his brands have invested in more technology as their business moved to largely digital.

He also said franchisees are focusing on investing in their local communities as more people are staying home and the need for community is important.