- Restaurant Brands International will host an "Open Kitchen" call with CEO José Cil on Clubhouse, the invite-only audio chat app. The event will take place today (Feb. 12) at 4 p.m. EST.
- "If we open up to our investors and business media every 3 months for financial results, why not do the same with other people who might be interested (from marketing folks to consumers)?" RBI global CMO Fernando Machado wrote on a LinkedIn post announcing the event.
- Clubhouse combines elements of chat rooms, conference calls, podcasts and apps like Houseparty, and has recently garnered buzz following interest in the app from Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk and because of its reported $1 billion valuation. Facebook is working on an audio chat product that would compete with Clubhouse, The New York Times reported.
RBI, the parent company of Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons, becomes one of the first major marketers to tap into the buzz surrounding Clubhouse. Its "Open Kitchen" lets consumers and marketing professionals have a conversation with Cil, Machado, RBI chief corporate officer Duncan Fulton and Burger King CMO Ellie Doty a day after reporting its full year and Q4 2020 earnings results. While system-wide sales growth declined 8.6% due to the effects of the pandemic, global digital sales reached $6 billion in 2020, per its earnings report, underscoring the need for RBI brands to be active in digital channels.
Aside from RBI's planned conversation, it's unclear how the platform can and will be used by marketers in the future. However, its offering — which combines the topicality of message boards, the group chat functionality of platforms like Slack and Zoom, and the audio-only content of podcasts — exists at the confluence of several consumer trends that have only accelerated during the pandemic.
Clubhouse launched in April and is quickly emerging as a social networking app to watch. The platform offers chat rooms that allow users to have conversations about a variety of topics. Still in beta on iOS, the app is invite-only but has quickly gone from 600,000 users in December to 2 million last month. With its rapid growth and attention from major tech figures like Musk and Zuckerberg, the company's valuation has grown to $1 billion, The Information reported.
Zuckerberg's interest comes as Facebook is reportedly building an audio chat platform that could compete with Clubhouse. Facebook has grown its company by acquiring young companies, including Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus, and by copying functionality from its competitors, as it did by introducing Stories and Reels in Instagram, which mirror functionality of Snapchat and TikTok, respectively. However, these moves have drawn the attention of regulators and state governments that filed antitrust lawsuits accusing the company of being a monopoly that uses its market dominance to destroy rivals and buy up smaller competitors.