Canadian Manufacturing

U.S. Tim Hortons franchisees join forces with disgruntled Canadian owners

The Great White North Franchisee Association claims the new U.S. chapter consists of nearly half of all U.S.-based franchisees. The coffee shop owners are unhappy with parent company RBI


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TORONTO—A group representing Tim Hortons franchisees who are unhappy with the management of the coffee-and-doughnut chain says it now has a U.S. chapter, a development that could put further pressure on the parent company.

The Great White North Franchisee Association (GWNFA) said in a statement that the U.S. chapter was created to give a united voice to franchisees concerned about the management of Restaurant Brands International. It said the membership of the new chapter includes nearly half of all U.S.-based franchisees.

The Canadian chapter formed in March, with members complaining the parent company was using its power to extract more profit from franchisees. Last week one member sought a class-action lawsuit against RBI, alleging it improperly used money from a national advertising fund. The claims have not been proven in court and RBI has denied the allegations.

A GWNFA spokesman said in an email that the U.S. chapter has no firm plans at the moment to launch a similar suit, but will explore various measures to address the concerns they have.

RBI did not immediately return a request for comment. Its Tim Hortons unit said in a statement that the company is focused on working with its elected franchisee advisory board. The Canadian GWNFA has questioned the board’s effectiveness.

RBI CEO Daniel Schwartz, who recently assumed the responsibilities of Tim Hortons president, has previously said he would prefer if the group expressed their concerns privately.


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