Restaurant Brands International (QSR 0.08%), the company behind the Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes fast-food chains, is accelerating efforts to protect the business as COVID-19 containment measures pummel its industry.

In an open letter, CEO Jose Cil on Monday outlined some of those initiatives, which are aimed at helping employees and franchisees navigate through what executives called an "unprecedented crisis."

Four young friends share a fast-food meal.

Image source: Getty Images.

Restaurant Brands is providing paid sick leave for up to two weeks for employees who need to seek medical care or self-isolate.

The conglomerate also announced new measures focused on helping franchisees through a time of collapsing customer traffic levels. These include cash advances and a new temporary rent structure that features a 45-day deferral for many payments.

"We have been faced with dozens of challenges and decisions that we haven't had to deal with before in our lives or careers," Cil said while praising employees and executives throughout the global restaurant system.

Management said the fast-food business is in a strong enough financial situation to endure this challenge while still helping franchisees. Restaurant Brands has $2.5 billion of cash on hand today after having fully drawing down on its $1 billion revolving credit line.