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

It’s time to say “I see you”

Chief speaks out on First Nations issues

Nak’azdli Whut’en a vital part of Fort St. James

Progressive and self sufficient, the First Nation looks to the future

Here’s what Fort St. James councillors refused to hear

Citizens express frustration and anger

Citizens ejected from Municipal Hall – Locked out

Mayor refuses to allow discussion on controversial Bylaw regarding marijuana

Mismanaged salmon farms unacceptable: Cullen

Commissioner suggests Ottawa favouring aquaculture over wild salmon management

VIDEO: B.C. ‘escapologist’ stuns judges on Britain’s Got Talent

Matt Johnson says televised water stunt was closest he’s come to death

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

NAFTA talks hold Foreign Affairs Minister in Washington, substitute heads to NATO summit

NAFTA talks keeping Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, sends substitute to NATO summit

Britain gives long-lost Franklin expedition ships to Canada, Inuit

Deeds to HMS Erebus and HMS Terror signed over to Canada and Inuit Heritage Trust

Grief over deadly Toronto van attack sinks in

Three days after rampage, people still gathering at memorial to lay flowers and honour victims

Liberals urged to tax e-commerce services like Netflix

Trudeau has been adamant that his government wouldn’t increase taxes on online subscriptions

Why some B.C. daycares didn’t opt in to subsidy program

Deadline passes for program aimed at laying foundation for universal child care

WATCH: Moms Stop The Harm respond to opioid crisis

Someone asked her if she does the work for her son. McBain said: “No, actually. I do it for your son.”

Been a long day? Here’s cute puppies in training

Group is training next batch of assistance dogs at Vancouver International Airport

Most Read