Franchisees roast Tim Hortons $700M makeover as ‘ill-conceived’

TORONTO — Tim Hortons has announced a $700 million program over four years to refresh and modernize about half of its store network across Canada, hoping to woo more customers to its outlets with communal seating and electric outlets at tables to charge phones and other electronics.

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But beyond luring in more customers, the company’s biggest challenge could be convincing an unhappy group of franchisees to buy in to the strategy after a year of upheaval, mudslinging and lawsuits.

New Tim Hortons president Alex Macedo, who joined the brand in December, said franchisees were informed of the coming changes in a conference call last Thursday, “and so far we are happy with the reaction,” he said in an interview.

“We are going in the same direction, and the franchisees that are aligned for the long run understand that this is the right way to go.”

Franchisee politics aside, the brand is in need of a boost after posting five consecutive quarters of tepid same-store sales. Rival McDonald’s Canada has steadily increased its market share of coffee and breakfasts in recent years and Starbucks Canada is outpacing both chains in sales growth, according to market research firm NPD Group.

“We have been listening to our guests

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