Tim Hortons, franchisees spat over $700M plan to reno many locations

Tim Hortons, franchisees spat over $700M plan to reno many locations

New restaurants will have lighter, more natural looking exteriors and open-concept seating

Tim Hortons plans to renovate most of its Canadian restaurants over the next several years in what some franchisees say is another “ill-conceived” move that will cost individual restaurant owners about $450,000.

The coffee-and-doughnut chain and its restaurant owners will invest $700 million to gussy up almost all its Canadian locations over the next four years, the brand said.

The new restaurants will have lighter, more natural looking exteriors, and feature upgraded, open-concept seating, the Restaurant Brands International-owned chain said in a statement.

“The expectations of our guests are evolving,” said Alex Macedo, the brand’s president, in a statement explaining the design change.

The decision has generated more animosity between the chain and an unsanctioned franchisee group, the Great White North Franchisee Association.

Earlier this month, the company held a call with franchisees explaining they wanted each restaurant owner to spend about $450,000 to renovate their stores, the GWNFA’s board of directors said in a letter to its members.

The company said Tuesday that costs will be split with restaurant owners on the same proportions as has historically been the case, but declined to specify what those proportions are.

The board acknowledged many of its members “will have problems getting the finances in place to carry out these renovations” and called on the company to show a full costing of the renovation program.

It advised members, which make up about half of all of Tim Hortons Canadian franchisees, not to sign or agree to anything until more details are disclosed.

“This is just one more in the string of ill-conceived programs brought forward by a group of executives who do not understand foodservice, franchise operations or marketing,” the letter reads.

Restaurant Brands International, “wants to fix a problem it cannot solve, mainly lack of sales, by getting us to spend money while they contribute very little,” the letter said.

Tim Hortons recorded a fifth consecutive quarter of sluggish sales in mid-February, according to RBI’s most recent quarterly earnings report.

The GWNFA formed about a year ago to give a voice to frustrated restaurant owners and fight against what they say is mismanagement of the chain by its corporate parent, RBI, known for drastic cost-cutting measures at the fast-food outlets its acquires.

The two groups have taken their battle to the courts with multiple lawsuits, and most recently entered a showdown over how to handle Ontario’s roughly 20 per cent minimum wage increase. The GWNFA accuses RBI of failing to help franchisees offset the increased labour costs through a 10 per cent price hike on all menu items.

RBI did not agree to the price hikes, but called the actions of some franchisees in the province who clawed back employee benefits, like paid breaks, reckless and completely unacceptable.

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A criminal trial for Robert Boule (inset), the owner of the Smuggler’s Inn, is to begin in August 2021, following a failed application to strike down immigration-act provisions that he is charged under. (Photo courtesy of The Northern Light newspaper)
Blaine inn owner’s challenge of immigration act fails

Robert Boule’s trial on human-smuggling charges set to begin August 2021

Surrey Little Theatre is located on 184th Street at Fraser Highway. (File photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey Little Theatre, Langley Players look to merge as single company at 200th Street theatre

A ‘really exciting’ development for the volunteer-run theatre companies

A example of a Staycation Box featuring an Indian experience. (Contributed photo)
White Rock company aims to bring vacation experience to front door

‘Staycation Boxes’ launched two months ago, include food bank donations

RCMP. (File photo: Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media)
Surrey RCMP recover stolen semi-trailer and its $200K of cargo

Police say the cargo was found in separate location than the trailer

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Business groups have been advocating for years that local approvals for construction in B.C. are too long and restricted, and that B.C.’s outdates sales tax deter business investment. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents worried about COVID-19 deficit, business survey finds

Respondents support faster local approvals, value added tax

The first of two earthquakes near Alaska on the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, is shown in blue. (USGS)
No tsunami risk after two earthquakes near Alaska

Both earthquakes hit near the U.S. state on Dec. 1

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Most Read