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Timmie, Timmie, Timmie. You’re just not getting it


Tim Hortons’ Canada President Sami Siddiqui and the bigwigs at Restaurant Brands International Inc. have blown it big-time. They’re now ranked 67th down from 13th position in Canada’s list of most trusted companies. They’ve been fighting with franchisees and employees about cuts to service and quality at Tim Hortons outlets and it has seriously hurt their stock prices and brand. The problem is they’re American and they just don’t get us. A few weeks ago I posted a piece about Timmie’s problems (click here to read Timmie Come Home. We miss you and we need you.)

Obviously Mr. Siddiqui didn’t read the email I sent him, which included a copy of my Boomerbroadcast.net posting. It would have saved such a lot of trouble and put Timmie back on the right track. The senior poobahs at Restaurant Brands International have decided that throwing millions of dollars at redecorating their restaurants will make the boo-boo go away. Sami—while new decor is a welcome gesture, it’s not that simple. You’re missing the entire point, which is (as I explained earlier): being a good corporate citizen and it’s about more than the bottom line. We are sure that bottom line would bounce back up if they treated their customers, employees and franchisees with more respect. Taking care of each other is the Canadian way.

An example of their seriously flawed approach to rebuilding the brand was perfectly displayed in their recent television commercials. The advertisers, with the consent and collaboration of Restaurant Brands’ execs launched a hugely laughable, large-production Hollywood-style commercial featuring employees in a highly choreographed song and dance routine that takes them from dancing and rolling around in coffee beans at the source to dancing around the restaurant floor. Noooooooo! On so many levels. That’s just so un-Canadian. And Timmie’s is all about being Canadian! Sheesh!

Sami. Sami. Sami. I’ll spell it out. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Provide employees with benefits. Don’t cheap out. Canadians take care of each other. It’s a matter of mutual respect.
  2. Stop those stupid Hollywood commercials. We like red mittens around mugs of quality coffee, steeped tea or hot chocolate, filmed in places like Red Deer and Saint John.
  3. Bring back the quality. We’re willing to pay a few cents extra.
  4. Fix your business plan to incentivise franchisees to hire more staff. Those long waiting lines are killing us.
  5. Last and most important. TRY LISTENING TO YOUR TIM HORTONS’ CANADIAN CUSTOMERS for a change. How many executives are busy punching numbers into their smart phone calculators trying to figure out how to cut costs while they completely ignore their entire raison d’être—the customer? Surely they taught you that basic fundamental at Harvard Business School? You are not omnipotent and if you don’t start treating us better you’ll be kicked out of the game.

Just in case Sami’s gate keeper doesn’t pass this along, perhaps you could forward it too. Maybe if a few of us CUSTOMERS screamed at him, they would listen. It’s worth a try. We really want our old Timmie’s back.

Here’s a link to their customer service department. Due to space limitations, I’d suggest copying an excerpt from this posting or this link to boomerbroadcast.net and sending to the attention of Sam Siddiqui at: http://www.timhortons.com/ca/en/about/contact-comments.php

Here’s the link for: Timmie come home. We miss you and we need you.

P.S. Did you know Tim Hortons coffee cups are NOT recycleable because they’re lined with wax? That can’t be good for our health. I didn’t know that until this week. Perhaps it’s better if you bring your own ceramic or insulated stainless steel reusable cup.


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Timmie come home. We miss you and we need you.


Bring back the old Timmies we knew and loved.

We knew it would happen didn’t we? It was a predictable outcome when American/Brazilian-owned Restaurant Brands International (who also owns Burger King) bought Canadian icon Tim Hortons in 2015. When the Canadian-themed commercials disappeared from our televisions, so did the level of service and quality of the products. It’s now strictly a numbers game for the big business that owns Timmies.

I may be going out on a limb here but I’m pretty sure Canadians wouldn’t mind paying a few pennies more for their daily double-double and maple glazed donut to have them freshly made in-house and promptly served by happy people who receive benefits. We don’t ask much. After all, we’re Canadian. But the natives are restless and unless Tim Hortons takes drastic steps to improve service and quality of their products without penalizing their employees’ benefit plans, we could be screwed—by foreign owners. Oh, that it should come to this.

What can we do?

We hate to say “We told you so” but . . . customers are unhappy; franchisees are unhappy; employees are unhappy. Stock prices are going cold. Under American leadership, Timmies has lost its basic Canadian flavour, its essence. Being a good corporate citizen is about more than the bottom line and we are sure that bottom line would bounce back up if they treated their customers, employees and franchisees with more respect. Taking care of each other is the Canadian way.

Should we pass the toque and buy back what should still be ours? We could have bake sales (ironic!), get the Leafs to play a charity fund-raiser game (after all, do they really deserve to get paid for what they do?), get little kids in red mittens with donation boxes around their necks to stand in their skates outside Beer Stores, ask Justin and the missus to put on their Indian costumes and pray?

There has to be a way we can bring Tim Hortons home again. It’s our heritage, our right and should still be our Timmies. The CEOs in charge in 2015 should have never sold out and now all Canadians are paying the price. Get out the old handbook—the one that spells honour and flavour with a “U” and films its commercials in places like Grande Prairie and Chicoutimi—before the Yanks messed with our special formula, our secret recipe. We’re dyin’ here. We need to buy back our Timmies.

Here’s what I posted in 2015 when Restaurant Brands International took over:

Is Timmies still a Canadian cultural icon?

For better or worse?

For better or worse? No longer Canadian.

Canadian Baby Boomers remember the real Tim Horton—the handsome young hockey player who helped the Toronto Maple Leafs win four Stanley Cups back in the sixties. Tim Horton was killed in a tragic car crash in 1974 shortly after one of his entrepreneurial endeavours had just started up. Tim Hortons was originally just a system of franchised donut/coffee shops in Ontario and grew to become a national icon, representing everything Canadian. In fact, I think they should change their corporate colours to red and white.

Is there a Canadian alive who hasn’t at least once walked down the street with the iconic brown cup in hand? Over the years, customers have supplied the material for Timmie’s feel-good commercials showing young kids and parents getting into the car on freezing winter mornings to drive to the hockey rink; our soldiers enjoying Tim’s in faraway desert postings, and seniors meeting over a newspaper for an early morning assessment of the world situation at their local Tim Hortons.

The upside. Mmmmm.

The upside. Mmmmm!

When American-owned Restaurant Brands International (owner of Burger King) purchased Tim Hortons, Canadians were collectively horrified, nervous and skeptical that our national identity would continue being treated with the respect it had earned over several decades. I think enough time has elapsed now that we can make a fair evaluation. I haven’t really seen any major change in the quality or choice of food and beverages being offered. They offer menu items that are fast and affordable, with seasonal promotional treats. I am concerned, however, that they might diversify too much into fast food menu choices which are bound to affect the culture.

What I have noticed, however, is that the always-slow lineups are growing longer and slower. Where there would generally be eight or ten people ahead of me, there are now eighteen or twenty. I recently waited so long in a line at Tim Hortons on Mavis Road in Mississauga that my roots need retouching. If there’s a lineup of cars extending down the street waiting for the drive-thru, I often opt to park the car and line up inside only to find that the drive-thru is still moving faster. I do miss those feel-good Canucky commercials though. Please tell me they’re not using an American ad agency now too. Where are the scenes of red maple leaf mittens hugging a hot chocolate, the maple donuts, all the pedestrians cradling a cup of Tim Hortons as they make their way through daily life?

The downside of Tim Hortons - the #@$%^&$ lineups.

The downside of Tim Hortons,

the #@$%^&$ lineups.

While I am politely (like any good, true Canadian) waiting in the Timmies lineup for the seasons to change or my Canada Savings Bonds to mature, it gives me time to look around and appreciate the common denominator that brings every ethnicity together under that ubiquitous brown and cream-coloured logo every day. It’s a reminder to be thankful I’m living in the best country in the world where we don’t have to clutch our precious children and flee down railroad tracks, over mountains or cross seas in leaky boats to simply be safe while drinking our morning coffee or steeped tea. We are fortunate that we’re not living in refugee camps because our lives were at risk in the place we once called home.

Every single one of us now living in Canada is the product of an immigrant. The next time I’m tempted to become impatient with the lineups at Tim Hortons, I’ll stop and think about those millions of people lining up to flee terrorism in their own homelands who would give anything to be in my place. The fact that many Tim Hortons are owned, staffed and frequented by immigrants is a testament to our tradition of welcoming newcomers to our country. We can only hope that the world leaders will soon get their act together and come up with a solution that will allow these families to rebuild their lives in safe, new countries such as Canada, or better still, to live safely in their home country.

Maybe we should export Tim Hortons to the Middle East, invite opposing sides to sit down and talk over a steeped tea or dark roast with some Timbits, and perhaps they would see that we’re not so different after all. We can all get along. Under that iconic logo we’re polite to each other; no one’s packing a gun; we’re not ducking mortar shells, and we’re sharing warmth and friendliness in a place we all love. You can’t get more Canadian than that—unless we bring the Stanley cup back to Toronto. We can only hope.


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Want to start a successful business?


It’s simple. Go into competition with Bombardier. They seem to have more business than they can handle, very little competition, a guaranteed source of financial handouts from various levels of gullible government and no particular business or management skills. Anyone can do better than that with a little business savvy, some creative thinking and an already available source of skilled workers. The recent news they were laying off 7,500 workers worldwide including 2,000 in Canada prompted me to repost a piece I wrote earlier this year about Bombardier.

Here’s the solution to our problems with Bombardier

It’s a perfect storm and has all the ingredients needed to launch a successful business enterprise—strong market demand for both present and future products, skilled, available workforce, existing manufacturing plants available for retooling, tested financial metrics and business case, shortage of reliable suppliers. All that’s needed is smart management to pull it together and we’re in business.

Let's get this trainwreck back on track.

Let’s get this train wreck back on track.

Bombardier is a train wreck of back-ordered stock on a track to disaster. For years we’ve been enduring the ongoing saga of mismanagement, government bailouts, law suits and failure to deliver. They’re being sued by the cities of London, England and Berlin for failure to deliver public transit vehicles on schedule. Toronto Transit Commission is at their wits’ end trying to get delivery of long overdue streetcars and could face similar difficulties with future transit vehicle deliveries. Yet Bombardier keeps accepting new orders because buyers seem to have nowhere else to turn.

Well, dear readers, I have the solution. We did it during World War II and it could work again. Re-open the General Motors and Ford plants throughout southern Ontario that closed when manufacturing jobs went south, and tool them up to build streetcars, trains and other heavy industrial mass-transit vehicles. Get Oshawa, Windsor, Talbotville and other automotive plants making streetcars and trains. If Bombardier can’t do the job, then give the work to those who can.

caption

Imagine the jobs that could be created in Oshawa, Windsor and other automotive towns.

I’m sick to death of hearing about the incompetency of Bombardier and failure to meet their obligations when half of Oshawa is collecting employment insurance benefits and would love to be back to work. If automotive plants could switch to making tanks and fighter planes during the Second World War, I’m confident Canadian ingenuity could make it happen again for trains and streetcars.

Throwing more money at Bombardier in government bailouts has proven to be a bottomless money pit. The company is poorly managed and despite their continuous unfulfilled promises they have no viable plan for turning things around. And now Delta has given them an order for new C-Class planes. Good luck Delta.

The first step is easy. Let's talk.

The first step is easy. Let’s talk.

Here’s the solution. Set up a conference call or better still, a meeting at Tim Hortons somewhere along Highway 401, between the automotive execs, the UAW, the Quebec and Ontario Government Ministers of Economic Development and Bombardier and let’s get this show on the road. I’ll buy the Tim-bits if it helps sweeten the pot. Time’s a’wastin’ and jobs are waiting. I’d be happy to facilitate. Just call me.

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