Sustainability

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.

Our Shared Vision

We believe that the delicious, affordable and convenient meals we serve, and our customers love, must be sustainable.”

Drive Thru Image
Drive Thru Image

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, reducing energy use, 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

Our Food

Carrols is committed to maintaining the highest standards of food quality and safety.

Our Approach

Food is the foundation of our business and we are passionate about serving guests the great-tasting food they love, each and every day. To ensure industry-leading food quality and safety standards across our operations, Carrols adheres to a variety of important policies, practices and procedures:

Training

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.

Compliance

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.

Inspections

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.

Nutritional transparency

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.

Ingredients

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. Burger King has banned 120 artificial ingredients from its food menu and is committed to offering a permanent menu that is free of colors, flavors and preservatives from artificial sources, wherever possible.

Vendors

RBI selects our vendors and leads quality assurance processes to ensure that our suppliers meet rigorous safety and quality standards.

Highlights and Initiatives

Carrols is proud to support RBI in fulfilling its commitments to food safety, nutrition transparency, improving choice and real ingredients. Recent expressions of these commitments include:

Food safety

All of our restaurants are subject to rigorous food safety inspections on a regular basis. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also implemented comprehensive measures to protect the safety of our guests and team members.

Nutrition Explorer

The launch of Burger King’s Nutrition Explorer, an online platform that provides users with nutritional information about BK menu items.

Improving choice

The introduction of plant-based options such as the Impossible Whopper, which provides guests with a flame-grilled patty made from plants.

Natural ingredients

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%.

Partially hydrogenated oils

A policy requiring all Burger King and Popeyes products to be free of partially hydrogenated oils.

Sodium reduction

Sodium-reduction initiatives for BK menu items, and plans to reduce the presence of other nutrients of concern, including fat and sugar.

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.

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Our Environment

At Carrols, we believe that protecting the planet for future generations and ensuring the sustainability of our business are of paramount importance. We are committed to doing our part by aligning with RBI’s sustainability policies and practices and supporting its commitments to recycling, waste reduction, responsible sourcing and continuously reducing our environmental footprint.

Our Approach

Our restaurants follow RBI’s sustainability practices in areas such as packaging and recycling, waste reduction, responsible sourcing and climate action.

Highlights and Initiatives

More Sustainable Packaging

Packaging helps us safely serve our guests the food they love, but some packaging can harm the health of our planet. To help address this concern, we are aligned with RBI’s goals relative to more sustainable packaging. We phased out expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam packaging at all our Burger King locations in 2020 and are pleased that by 2025, 100% of RBI’s approved guest packaging will be recyclable, compostable or reusable.

Waste reduction

To help reduce waste and conserve resources, our cooking oil is recycled into clean-burning biofuels and other applications. We also support RBI’s goal of making recycling available at all of our Burger King locations where adequate infrastructure exists by 2025.

Climate Action

RBI has measured their global Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and we support their goal to reduce Scope 3 GHG emissions intensity by 50% per restaurant by 2030. This target was approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and is based on SBTi Criteria and Recommendations. We also support RBI’s goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, or sooner.

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Our People

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.

Our Approach

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
  • Equal Access to Services for Disabled Persons Policy
  • Safety Policy
  • Code of Ethics
  • Code of Business Ethics and Conduct
  • Ethics Hotline Policies 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 tip line and website available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, equipped to field queries and reports in areas ranging from fraud to harassment to health and safety concerns. Our Ethics Hotline Policies and Procedures permit complaints to be made via the hotline on an anonymous basis 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 November 30, 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.

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  • Our website describes our employment philosophy and summarizes the training, opportunities and career paths available to our team members.

Our Communities

Carrols helps promote caring and supportive communities in the places where our team members live and work.

Our Approach

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 in March 2020. As of November 30, 2021, the fund has provided financial support to over 600 of 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.

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