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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Toronto not loving Tim Hortons $700 million renovation plan

Canada's most iconic coffee brand thinks that some extreme store makeovers will help bolster its flagging sales and catch up to competitors like Starbucks and McDonald's.

Customers beg to differ.

Tim Hortons announced this week that will be spending roughly $700 million over the next four years to renovate half the stores in its Canadian network.

The re-designed restaurants will boast lighter, more natural looking exteriors, according to The Canadian Press.

Inside, they'll feature couches and other types of open-concept seating arrangements with maple wood tables, portraits of NHL player Tim Horton, and lots of electrical outlets for people to charge electronic devices.

tim hortons renovations

Tim Hortons will reveal a new look with more contemporary seating options. Image: Tim Hortons.

The renderings look okay, but neither franchisees nor coffee drinkers are confident that a new look will do much to help business. 

Franchise owners have been asked to shell out as much as $450,000 per location as part of the larger renovation program, according to an association representing about half of all store owners.

With relations already strained between franchisees, employees and Restaurant Brands International (the company that owns Tim Hortons,) the request has not been well-received.

"This is just one more in the string of ill-conceived programs," wrote the the Great White North Franchisee Association in a letter on Tuesday, "brought forward by a group of executives who do not understand foodservice, franchise operations or marketing."

What's more is that decor doesn't seem to be the company's most-pressing problem, at least in terms of customer satisfaction.

"Maybe Tim Hortons should worry more about their leaking coffee cups and underpaid employees then a 700 million renovation?" wrote one customer on Twitter this morning as news of the impending makeovers spread. 

"Here's an idea Tim Hortons," wrote somebody else. "Why not focus on improving the quality and consistency of your shitty products?... If you honestly believe a makeover is gonna help you, you're screwed."

The Tim Hortons look is expected to be rolled out across "a majority of restaurants in Canada" by 2021, according to a press release from the company.

"Together with our restaurant owners, we're focused on taking Tim Hortons to new heights," said brand president Alex Macedo in a statement.

"From revitalizing the restaurant experience and evolving our menu offerings to developing creative campaigns that make all of our guests proud to call their local Tim Hortons home."

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

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