Sustainability at Carrols
Carrols is committed to creating long-term value for its stockholders through sustainable business practices that support our employees, our customers and the communities we serve.
As a franchisee, we are subject to strict guidelines established by our franchisor, Restaurant Brands International (RBI), the parent company of Burger King Corporation and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. In areas ranging from vendor and menu selection to food preparation and packaging, we operate in accordance with RBI’s standards and support their wider sustainability vision.
We believe that the delicious, affordable and convenient meals we serve, and our customers love, must be sustainable.”
As the largest franchisee of Burger King restaurants in the United States, we are proud to support RBI’s sustainability programs, which include initiatives focused on responsible sourcing, sustainable packaging and removing preservatives and artificial colors and flavors from the food we serve.
In 2021, we began consulting with RBI’s sustainability team to receive updates on their efforts, share our perspectives and discuss how we can do our part to help our customers, employees, communities and planet.
In addition to supporting RBI’s sustainability initiatives, Carrols is also committed to leading our own efforts in areas such as food quality and safety, employee well-being and career development, community support and volunteerism.
The Nomination and Corporate Governance Committee of Carrols’ Board of Directors oversees the Company’s policies, goals and initiatives related to sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG).
Our Four Pillars
Carrols is committed to maintaining the highest standards of food quality and safety.
To ensure industry-leading food standards across our operations, Carrols adheres to a variety of important policies, practices and procedures:
We provide both classroom and in-restaurant training for all restaurant personnel to ensure that every Carrols team member has the knowledge and skills to meet our rigorous food quality and safety requirements. Our restaurant managers and shift supervisors also complete the ServSafe Food Safety training and certification program, which is accredited by the American National Standards Institute Conference for Food Protection.
We operate in strict compliance with all health and quality assurance standards mandated by federal, state and local laws and regulations. These include, among other things, rules regarding food handling and cleanliness, minimum cooking times and temperatures, and maximum time standards for holding prepared food.
Our Burger King restaurants undergo both scheduled and unscheduled inspections by third-party firms under Burger King Corporation’s oversight to help ensure quality and safety protocols are being followed consistently. These third-party inspections complement the continuous and rigorous inspections our restaurant managers perform to ensure taste, quality, cleanliness and food safety.
We support RBI’s commitment to provide guests with a variety of menu options, including plant-based offerings, and equip them with the information they need to make educated food choices.
As part of its commitment to using real food and high-quality ingredients, RBI has been removing colors, flavors and preservatives from artificial sources from our menu items.
RBI selects our vendors and leads quality assurance processes to ensure that our suppliers meet rigorous safety and quality standards.
Highlights and Initiatives
Supporting RBI’s commitments to customers and the planet
Carrols is proud to support RBI in fulfilling its commitments on nutrition transparency, real ingredients and sustainable sourcing. Recent expressions of these commitments include:
The launch of Burger King’s Nutrition Explorer, an online platform that provides users with nutritional information about BK menu items.
The introduction of new plant-based options such as the Impossible Whopper.
Currently, 90% of the permanent Burger King menu is free of colors, flavors and preservatives from artificial sources and Burger King is striving to increase that share to 100% by the end of 2021.
A policy requiring all Burger King and Popeyes products to be free of partially hydrogenated oils.
Sodium-reduction initiatives for BK menu items – and plans to reduce the presence of other nutrients of concern, including fat and sugar.
A goal of ensuring that by 2022, 30% of the beef supply for Burger King US comes from sustainable sources.
Operating safely during the COVID-19 pandemic
Carrols made numerous adaptations to our operations in order to maintain our high standards of food quality and safety while keeping employees and customers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include, among other things:
Low-contact processes for service and payment. We adopted low-contact procedures for food delivery and installed acrylic barriers at our front counters and drive-thrus. These measures allow us to continue serving our menu items while limiting contact between employees and guests.
Delivery options. Over the past year, we enabled more customers to safely and conveniently access our menu items by adding food delivery services at over 80% of our restaurants. These services are supported by third-party delivery partners with their own strict safety protocols.
- Nutrition Explorer is an online nutrition information platform for Burger King.
- RBI Restaurant Brands for Good 2020 Year in Review provides an overview of RBI’s approach to food sustainability, nutritional transparency and other topics covered above.
Everyone has a role to play in living and working sustainably. At Carrols, we are committed to doing our part by aligning with RBI’s policies and practices and supporting its commitments to recycling and waste reduction.
Our restaurants follow RBI practices in areas such as packaging and waste reduction. The food we serve also reflects RBI’s environmental commitments: RBI supports sustainable palm oil production, sources key ingredients domestically wherever possible, and makes other procurement choices that align with our shared goal of more sustainable food production.
Highlights and Initiatives
In alignment with RBI’s sustainable packaging goal, we phased out polystyrene packaging at all our Burger King locations in 2020. We also support RBI’s goal of ensuring that 100% of approved guest packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources by 2025.
To reduce waste and conserve resources, we support RBI’s goal of making recycling available at 100% of our Burger King locations by 2025. We also support RBI’s efforts to phase out nonrecyclable, non-biodegradable toys from Burger King kids’ meals by 2025.
RBI has measured our global Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is working to set reduction targets.
- RBI’s website provides an overview of its environmental approach, highlights and performance.
- RBI Restaurant Brands for Good 2020 Year in Review offers further information about specific goals and initiatives (see “Planet” section, pages 8–10).
Our greatest asset is our people, who help provide outstanding service and quality food for the thousands of guests we serve every day. Carrols, in turn, is committed to supporting the well-being and career development of everyone who works with us.
Carrols works to create a safe, equitable and rewarding work environment where team members are supported in their roles and have access to opportunities for advancement. We are committed to fostering an inclusive culture in which all employees feel valued, respected and heard.
In addition to complying with all employment-related laws and regulations in the jurisdictions where we operate, we have implemented codes and policies to ensure that our workplaces support our people and reflect our values. Examples include our:
- Equal Employment Opportunity Policy
- Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policies
- Preventing and Eliminating Sexual Harassment Policy
- Code of Ethics
- Code of Business Ethics and Conduct
- Ethics Hotline Policy and Procedures
To ensure that all team members are empowered to report concerns without fear of reprisal, Carrols has established an ethics hotline – a free, anonymous, 24/7 tip line and website equipped to field queries and reports in areas ranging from fraud to health and safety concerns. Our Ethics Hotline Policy and Procedures require investigation of complaints made via the anonymous hotline and prohibit retaliation against complainants.
Highlights and Initiatives
Health, safety and support during the COVID-19 pandemic
Amid the disruptions and uncertainties of the pandemic, our top priority has been protecting our employees and customers by adopting safe operating practices throughout our restaurants. Among other things, we mandate the use of masks, sanitizers and contactless procedures. We also require team members to complete a health screening assessment and have their temperatures taken at the beginning of each shift.
At the outset of the pandemic, we established a “Carrols Cares” fund to provide immediate relief to employees in need. Our CEO contributed his salary for a business quarter to the fund and other executives joined him by making donations to support our employees who experienced economic disruption caused by COVID-19.
An ongoing commitment to leadership and career development
To support career development, we provide our employees with extensive training opportunities and promote clear pathways for advancement.
Our commitment to developing talent and leadership from within our own ranks – including through coaching and mentorships – has delivered meaningful results: a majority of the managers at our restaurants and overseeing operations at the regional level have been promoted into their leadership roles from more junior positions within Carrols.
Reflecting the diversity of our communities
As of March 31, 2021, a majority of our employees were women (56%) and approximately 50% self-identified as belonging to a racial or ethnic minority group. Our equal employment and anti-discrimination policies reflect our commitment to creating fair and equitable workplaces where everyone is respected.
Carrols helps promote caring and supportive communities in the places where our team members live and work.
To support charitable organizations that strengthen local communities, we operate programs that encourage our employees to engage in volunteerism and charitable giving.
Highlights and Initiatives
Supporting employees during the COVID-19 pandemic
In response to the economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we established a “Carrols Cares” fund to support our employees in need.
Community investment initiatives
- Our Dollars for Doers Volunteer Program offers grants to community organizations where Carrols employees volunteer. Each employee may seek up to two grants per year of up to $250 each in support of their chosen charities. The program is open to both part-time and full-time employees.
- Through our Matching Gift Program, Carrols will match employees’ charitable donations to local food banks or food pantries of up to $5,000 per employee per year. This program is open to both part-time and full-time employees.
- Each year, we provide at least $1 million in support to the Burger King Foundation, a non-profit organization that assists Burger King employees and their family members through educational scholarships and emergency relief grants. Since 2000, the Burger King Scholars program has provided more than 40,000 students with a cumulative $45 million in scholarship funding. Internationally, the Foundation has supported more than 200 education-focused infrastructure projects such as schools and libraries.