A few weeks ago, we shared a discussion about Tim Horton’s recent business transformation after its 2014 acquisition by 3G Capital, a Brazilian private equity firm that also owns Burger King, Kraft and a number of other high-profile brands. It was a $12.5 billion dollar acquisition that received lots of press in Canada, where Tim Horton’s reigns supreme as one of the most successful Quick Service Restaurant brands in history. Enough time has passed that business journalists have begun to look inside the company to see how the acquisition by 3G capital – a company known for its pursuit of efficiency at all costs – has impacted Tim Hortons’ operations. We dissected a detailed Globe and Mail account of what this controversial transformation has meant for the company’s Supply Chain and corporate culture, with many former employees making the case that 3G’s relentless cost-cutting has “erased 50 years of corporate culture” at Tim’s.
We’re a Canadian company, and we’re interested in Canadian business stories that touch on Supply Chain Management and talent – so we were interested in whether this culture change, and relentless focus on efficiency, might have knock-on effects for the legendary company’s brand among consumers and potential employees. Like with any controversial topic, we got quite a few responses from readers both in Canada and the U.S.
Here are a few of those responses:
A Purchasing Department Member says:
“As a past employee of Hortons I can tell you 3G has done nothing positive within the brand or outside the brand. If anyone can name one thing please advise. Relationships from staff to franchisees to suppliers have all plummeted to desperate levels. The greed of a few in Brazil and Warren Buffett have put themselves all ahead of the well being of all parties involved with the best restaurant brand ever known in Canada.
Everyone is afraid of the bullying tactics that 3G uses. This is not good business at all. Hortons was always a very strong supporter of their Children’s camps. Let’s do some investigating into what 3G will do with that charitable enterprise. All the talk of growth is bs! Find any business that 3G has grown organically. It’s a big fat ZERO. As Canadians we all need to stand up and protect what is ours, being the best restaurant brand in Canada before 3G ruins more of it.”
A District Manager at Tim Horton’s says:
“We felt the change at the franchise level, positive and negative, abrupt and slow. But we are still working just as hard to expand and improve the brand. Restaurant industry is changing every year, just need to grab that paddle!”
A Montreal VP of Business Development says:
“Brands can be super powerful but can’t resist the appetite of a board eager to cash-in profits with cost-cutting rather than top line growth. And each brand comes with its own market patterns, supply chain and margin. 3G has to be real cautious not to drain a Canadian brand I used to enjoy after my kids hockey in the early morning. Good luck Tim!”
An HR Director and former Tim’s Director says:
“Most definitely. This is a brand with a heart. It genuinely valued its customers and communities and the head office was built on values that serviced the franchises and fostered partnerships. 3G dismantles and profits. Short sighted gains. And the rich get richer.”
A Business Development Manager says:
“Brands can be super powerful but can’t resist the appetite of a board eager to cash-in profits with cost-cutting rather than top line growth. And each brand comes with its own market patterns, supply chain and margin. 3G gotta be real cautious not to drain a Canadian brand I used to enjoy after my kids hockey in the early morning. Good luck Tim!”
Thanks to all who shared their thoughts, and we hope the discussion can continue. If you want to weigh in on what measures 3G can take to stem negative perception in the marketplace, and rebuild goodwill as an employer brand, let us know in the comments!