MONTREAL - MTY Food Group Inc. says it will postpone the collection of royalties from franchisees for four weeks as its stock plummeted amid decreased demand triggered by COVID-19.

The owner of brands including Thai Express and Tutti Frutti saw its stock plunge more than 27 per cent in mid-morning trading Monday as Canadians self-isolate and travel restrictions ramp up at domestic airports and around the world.

Chief executive Eric Lefebvre says the postponement will support franchisees as traffic declines.

He says the deferred royalties amount to between $15 million and $18 million.

MTY, whose brands have a strong presence in airports and shopping malls as well as street-side storefronts, is encouraging landlords and governments to "do their part" to help struggling franchisees.

The Montreal-based company franchises and operates fast food and casual restaurants under more than 80 different banners in Canada, the United States and around the world.