Food Safety

Our Approach to Food Safety

Food Safety is one of the most critical and fundamental components of our business at Restaurant Brands International and we are committed to maintaining rigorous science-based food safety standards to meet this goal.

Food Safety is a collaborative effort beginning from where we source materials and right through the product as it is served to our guests. This process begins with robust supplier quality assurance programs that ensure preventative safety controls are in place and extend throughout the preparation and delivery process for serving safe food to our guests. The key controls required for our suppliers include certification under the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) scheme, the foundation of which is the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) programs. In addition, we routinely conduct supplier audits to ensure all food safety risks are managed and under control, with a special emphasis when approving both new vendors and new products. An integral part of our supply chain involves maintaining the cold chain through transportation and distribution and ensuring product traceability is in place.

As part of our commitment to prepare safe food at all restaurants worldwide, any new menu items approved to enter our restaurants are reviewed and assessed for compliance by food safety and quality assurance professionals across our organization through a collaborative effort involving multiple checkpoints, and finally reviewed independently by our global food safety team. Restaurant procedures and best practices for restaurant owners are developed to meet or exceed local food safety and regulatory requirements and maintain the safety of guests and team members. Burger King, Popeyes, Tim Hortons and Firehouse Subs restaurants worldwide are subject to rigorous, independent, food safety 3rd party inspections on a regular schedule to ensure compliance with food safety standards.

To achieve the vendor quality and food safety standards we are committed to, we focus on education and training at the supplier, restaurant and corporate levels, as well as evaluation and monitoring of our food, suppliers and in our restaurants.

Education & Training


Suppliers to RBI restaurants are an integral part of our food chain in ensuring safe food are provided to our guests. A major component of education and training for our approved suppliers focuses on providing what RBI’s food safety policies and standards are.

Our food safety team works to continuously upgrade our standards, to ensure we are ahead of the latest trends and threats. We compile those standards in the form of food safety guidelines, that we use to train our suppliers as relevant for the ingredients and facility requirements, to ensure the safety of the products they serve us. Examples of recent documents are our Listeria Control Guidelines, or our Low Moisture Food Guidelines for ready to eat foods.

We have annual calibration sessions with our suppliers, globally, which we use as an opportunity to update and train them on our guidelines, in addition to what they would receive as part of the onboarding process. When a finding or corrective action is identified in our 3rd party supplier audits, our food safety team are readily available for our suppliers to be a food safety resource and train them on our requirements and guidelines. Being able to work collaboratively with our suppliers has helped our efforts in keeping food safety the number one priority.


A fundamental component of food safety for RBI is education and training for our restaurant staff on how to safely prepare and serve food. To ensure restaurants practice safe food handling procedures and are providing our guests with safe food, we focus heavily on equipping our restaurant staff with the right knowledge and tools and delivered in a manner that is simple and easy to understand.

The training includes modules on food safety, focusing on 8 areas, and also allergen modules. All team members are trained on food safety during their first weeks of work at the restaurant. In addition to these RBI internal food safety training materials, all restaurant managers are required to be food safety certified.


Driving food safety importance does not just end with our suppliers and restaurants. RBI is committed to transcending food safety training to our corporate teams, as well as continually expanding our Food Safety and QA team’s wealth of knowledge on food safety in efforts to remain ahead of initiatives and opportunities. This entails:

  1. Conducting regular trainings for our internal teams on RBI’s food safety policies and standards
  2. Annual training and calibration sessions for our Food Safety and QA team
  3. Monthly presentations to update the team on standards, changes and food safety news
  4. Attending monthly webinars to be able to monitor emerging food safety trends and manage risks proactively

All RBI QA team members are certified in HACCP, the basic food safety risk management approach.

RBI Food Safety prides itself in being able to create content and training materials that further develops the team’s knowledge of food safety.

Evaluation & Monitoring

RBI considers the evaluation of our food, suppliers, distribution centers and restaurants as critical to provide our guests across the globe with safe, high quality and great-tasting food.

Food Evaluation

During the ingredients’ approval stage, performance of the product during the cooking process is evaluated with a statistical model to ensure all our products are cooked with a consistent procedure. Once approved and if they are being supplied to the restaurants, products are subject to routine testing and quality controls to avoid deviations, according to a Quality Assurance Plan individually established for each product and in accordance with its risk level.

This testing is performed independently by contracted 3rd party vendors, in most cases, in laboratories embedded in our Restaurant Services Centers around the world.

Supplier Evaluation

We believe that our suppliers are an especially important pillar of our Food Safety system, thus, we foster a collaborative relationship - we schedule visits and provide guidance to build a strong and reliable RBI supply chain. We require our suppliers to be GFSI certified, specifically for produce, where we also require the farms to be certified against Good Agricultural Practices.

In areas where Good Agricultural Practices standards are not a customary practice, we continue working with local and smaller suppliers to reach the hygienic level to get this certification. We also monitor that the suppliers always have a valid GFSI certificate uploaded in our system.

On top of this GFSI requirement, our approved suppliers and distribution centers are required to pass a supplier compliance audit, in frequency depending on their risk level, most commonly every year. We receive and analyze results of these audits and monitor corrective actions are in place within 30 days for any detected non-compliances.

We measure all our suppliers’ evaluations into a Supplier Quality Performance Scorecard. We update this scorecard monthly and use it to continuously improve our suppliers’ quality performance, and alignment with all RBI requirements. Close monitoring of quality and food safety parameters allow us to detect variations in the compliance of suppliers and collaborate with them to reach their full potential.

Restaurant Evaluation

Restaurants are the most important link of the chain before our food is served to our guests and we have stringent controls at this stage as well.

Checks to control critical control points are in place and we are gradually transitioning to digital to easily keep and maintain records, reduce the time and effort, improve accuracy, and even have access to real time data remotely to monitor performance.

Additionally, we work with 3rd party expert auditing companies to perform unannounced restaurant visits against an audit designed by RBI, which includes strict Food Safety evaluations. The data obtained is used to update the checklist twice a year to capture evolving challenges and adapt to new situations in every region.

Food Safety Governance

RBI understands the importance of a strong and independent Food Safety team, which is unrestricted to highlight any potential food safety concern, requiring mitigation measures to approve any project potentially unsafe. All Food Safety responsibilities at RBI are centralized, globally and for all its brands, under the Vice-president of Global Quality Assurance, who has an experienced global team exclusively dedicated to Food Safety, led by the Sr. Director of Food Safety.

The company CEO and his Leadership Team are regularly updated on food safety trends, risks and mitigation strategies, and the Board of the company oversights Food Safety function through an annual internal audit.

Sharing Food Safety

We are proud of our strong food safety activities, and in synchrony with many other industry players, do not consider Food Safety something we compete with others, but an obligation to improve for the better good of all society. As such, we regularly share our initiatives and best practices with our colleagues in other companies and learn from their own practices.

We are active, long term members, and sponsors of many organizations dedicated to improve and expand food safety, such as the International Association of Food Protection, the Conference for Food Protection, the Global Food Safety Initiative, where we are part of the Steering Committee, and the Center for Food Safety. We regularly present in industry conferences, and actively participate in food safety networks and forums. We are always open to share Food Safety knowledge.

We are also participants in specific industry organizations dedicated to enhance food safety in their areas, such as United Fresh (now International Fresh Produce Association), Beef Industry Food Safety Council, National Chicken Council, and Baking Association.

Because of our size and our global reach, we recognize that our food safety initiatives can make a positive impact, and we take that role very seriously. For example, when we required that our suppliers need to be GFSI certified, that helped to get more than 3,000 suppliers from all over the world comply to that standard.

Since 2015, when we started requesting that our lettuce and tomatoes to be sourced only from farms audited against Good Agricultural Practices, we ensured more than 1,600 farms worldwide would reach that higher food safety standard, making produce safer for all their clients, not just our guests.

We are obsessive about Food Safety, a passion that motivates and guides all we do.

“There is nothing more important for us than ensuring the Food Safety of our products and our restaurants.”
Diego Beamonte
Vice-President Global Quality Assurance, Restaurant Brands International