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Restaurant Brands International (TSX:QSR)(NYSE:QSR) is an iconic Canadian restaurant company. Restaurant Brands owns valuable intellectual property relating to the company’s brands, including trademarks, service marks, patents, industrial designs, copyrights, trade secrets, and other proprietary information. Some of these are of material importance to the company’s Tim Hortons (TH), Burger King (BK), and Popeyes (PLK) businesses.

Valuable trademarks

The duration of trademarks and service marks varies by country; however, trademarks and service marks are valid and may be renewed as long as they are in use and properly registered. Each of the company’s brands competes in the United States (U.S.), Canada, and internationally with many well-established food service companies on the basis of product choice, quality, affordability, service, and location.

In addition, Restaurant Brands has established the standards and specifications for most of the goods and services used in the development, improvement, and operation of the company’s restaurants. These proprietary standards, specifications, and restaurant operating procedures are the company’s trade secrets. Additionally, Restaurant Brands owns certain patents and industrial designs of varying duration relating to equipment and packaging used in BK and TH restaurants.

Fully integrated systems

Further, Restaurant Brands’s corporate financial, human resources, and similar systems are fully integrated across the company’s brands and provide a solid foundation for the business. Restaurant Brands’s restaurant information systems are provided by a set of approved third-party vendors that provide point-of-sale software. Depending on the region, these vendors may also provide labour scheduling, inventory, production management, and cash-control services.

Also, Restaurant Brands has an architecture that enables it to build custom customer-facing applications and integrate them with the company’s third-party providers to support mobile ordering, web ordering, and kiosks. As of the end of 2020, Restaurant Brands appears to have deployed this architecture in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom and plans to deploy it to additional markets in the future.

Modernizing the drive-thru experience

During 2020, the use of Restaurant Brands’s mobile apps and digital technologies expanded significantly. Restaurant Brands was able to provide the company’s guests added convenience by increasing the number of home market restaurants offering third-party and white label delivery. Further, Restaurant Brands is modernizing the drive-thru experience with the rollout of outdoor digital menu boards for all three brands in the respective home markets.

Furthermore, Restaurant Brands plans to leverage the company’s technology capabilities to continue to expand the choices for how customers order, pay, and receive food. Although many of Restaurant Brands’s systems are provided through third parties, Restaurant Brands has the ability to obtain transaction-level data from most of the company’s franchised restaurants and from directly owned company restaurants. This allows it to assess how new and existing products are performing around the world.

Investing in technology capabilities

Additionally, Restaurant Brands appears to have been investing to upgrade the company’s supply chain systems and improve efficiency. Restaurant Brands expects to continue to invest in technology capabilities to support and drive the company’s business. This strategy is expected to continue to be a focus in 2021 and beyond and should serve shareholders well.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

The Motley Fool recommends Restaurant Brands International Inc. Fool contributor Nikhil Kumar has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

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