Two of Restaurant Brands International’s (RBI) headline restaurant chains are going to stop selling Chicken raised using antibiotics. They’re coming late to the party but the move is still a good thing, in a world where antibiotic-resistant diseases are on the rise and consumers are demanding ‘cleaner’ food…
Tim Horton’s and Burger King will soon be advertising that their Chicken is antibiotic-free. Just like Wendy’s, McDonald’s, KFC and others are already doing. Oddly, the no-antibiotics promise does not extend to another major RBI restaurant, Popeye’s Louisiana Chicken. The holding company did not say why.
The medical community and environmentalists have been calling for a ban, in agriculture, on the use of antibiotics that are also used on humans. Seventy percent of the antibiotics developed for human use are used in the raising of food animals and doctors are concerned that overuse of these drugs on the farm will make them less effective in treating human infections. Reuters news organization looked into the situation and discovered that t least 23,000 Americans die from antibiotic-resistant afflictions each year and many more such deaths may go uncounted.
Why did RBI finally decide to go antibiotic-free?
Not because of a sudden conversion to the ‘clean food’ mentality. Not because it going to be cheaper. (It’s not.) Not even because the competition was gaining market share at their expense, riding the antibiotic-free bandwagon. No, Tim’s and BK are going ‘clean’ because a shareholder group demanded that they do so. That’s sad. And cynical, on RBI’s part.
But, as they’ve shown us many times in the recent past, RBI is all about extracting profit from its brands and stuffing shareholders’ pockets. And its franchisees are caught in the middle. Witness the move, last week, by Canadian Tim’s franchisees, to sue the head office over claims that RBI is mismanaging the brand and mishandling funds levied from franchisees for collective marketing and promotion. And, if the franchisees are in a crunch now, it’s certain that the customers are going to suffer in the mid to long term.
When will RBI realize that they must cater to customers, coddle franchisees and keep up with the times in order to insure long-term vale to their shareholders?
~ Maggie J.