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.

Just Posted

Peace Walk fundraiser for hospice runs on Sunday

Take a walk, have a snack, and help donate to a local charity

Raccoons making themselves at home on Saanich property

Resident blames neighbour for attracting pests to area

Thousands attend 31st TD Art Gallery Paint-In

Artists display their work along 20 blocks of Moss Street

City of Victoria joins national food waste reduction program

The City is partnering in the Love Food, Hate Waste Program

Details scarce as union confirms probe underway involving Victoria care homes

Island Health, VicPD offer no comment on report of investigation into alleged sexual assaults

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Gold medals for Victoria rowers at BC Games

Both girls row out of the Victora City Rowing Club at Elk Lake

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

200 firefighters and 18 helicopters were working to increase the containment of the fires

B.C. VIEWS: Unions regain control of public construction

B.C.’s 40-year battle swings back to international big labour

Brush fire breaks out west of Port Alberni

Fire forces partial closure of Highway 4 heading to Ucluelet and Tofino

Accident on Vancouver Island after artillery gun rolls down hill and damages taxi

Witness says accident happend about 1 p.m. Saturday; RCMP investigating

Most Read