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

WATCH: Kan Yon restaurant break-in caught on camera

Owner Kevin Kwong said the break-in will not stop him from doing business

Letter: With Greyhound cuts, cancer care still available for rural residents

Editor, In light of the Greyhound bus lines reducing service in British… Continue reading

Savage West rock at a hoedown for a cause in Hope

Owners of Broke Buckle Clothing Co. held the event to benefit the Heart and Stroke Foundation

Rolling Pin celebrates being crowned sweetest bakery in Western Canada

Fans of the bakery voted online and in person in the Dawn Foods contest this summer

A tiny shop with a big heart for the Hope hospital

The gift shop at the Fraser Canyon Hospital is bursting at the seams with new products

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

VIDEO: Craft growers will add to recreational market, cannabis producer says

Two B.C. men say their expertise in running small legal medical grow-ops a benefit to recreational market

World Sikh Organization demands Canada prove Sikh extremism is a threat

Sikh community says this is first time such extremism has been mentioned in federal terror-threat assessment

Risk of catching the flu increasing in B.C. this holiday season: BCCDC

Dr. Danuta Skowronski with the BC Centre for Disease Control says influenza will pick up during the holidays

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Most Read