In 2020 Tim Hortons is Forced to Return to the Basics

I saw this coming…

Ever since my teens I’ve studied business, and branding, and advertising. Spending hours upon hours scouring the internet and watching videos on how businesses successfully establish themselves.

I’ve always found these things to be fascinating. Especially because I realized there were large billion-dollar companies that were at times slow to remember what got them there.

They blow up… they expand… and they gain shareholders. They operate out of fancy corporate offices and use multiple levels of management. Their customers became raving fans and they ran laughing all the way to the bank. Then… it happens. They get comfortable, and they get confident. Too confident.

When companies forget where they started, and what put them on the map they begin to make decisions that ultimately prove to jeopardize their long-term profits.

I worked for Tim Hortons for over three years.
I really enjoyed my time with the company. It helped me learn and develop my skills and become who I am today. Along the way, I enjoyed seeing the day to day operations of the fast-food giant. It was always amazing to think that I was working for a company that was worth billions. Although I’ll admit even as a teenager, I saw tons of ways the company could improve. And I saw the issues the company is now openly facing today.

Tim Hortons began as a donut and coffee shop in Hamilton Ontario in 1964. It has since gone on to become a Canadian icon. With just under 5,000 locations across Canada and a few rare locations south of the border, Tim Hortons is everywhere.

But with an ever-expanding product lineup, Tim Hortons has struggled to maintain its brand identity.

I can remember talking to my franchise owner about the advancement of the company and the development of its menu. He had told me that the company wanted to be sure that they had products that made them relevant for every meal of the day. Tim Hortons essentially wanted to be able to appeal to its customers any time, day or night.

I can remember my store owner asking me what I thought of some menu developments my store was taking on. I had expressed the concern that it was an over-diversification of the Tim Hortons brand.

I expressed that though we may see more sales today, it could negatively affect our sales long-term. He laughed and thought I was far too concerned. I think he thought I should’ve been excited about the future.

The thing is — I saw what those running the company were not willing to see. A company that moved away from what had originally been their bread and butter. They had essentially taken their eye off the price.

They were looking to move onto new and seemly exciting things. Yet they lost track of the basics. The company struggled to realize their niche market should be their primary focus.

I had seen firsthand as the company was stretched to try and accommodate new products, only to slow the speed of service for its customers. And that’s never good. Anyone who’s been in the fast-food world for two minutes can tell you that both quality and speed need to go hand in hand to stay on top of the game.

Time and time again…
Brick and mortar businesses need to always remember.
They need to pick something and then get really good at it.

That’s how brands are developed, and that’s how revenue is grown. When a business is known for something and reaches a state of excellence.

Businesses that are already in operation have to be able to evaluate what products and services are bringing in the greatest cash flow, then they need to focus on better utilizing those products and services.

How do they talk about them? How do they package them? How do they advertise them? What opportunities do they see to make them more readily available? Companies really have to make the most of whatever they do best.

The efforts companies make to return to where they started, and return to the basics is ideal when it comes to helping to cut costs and grow revenue. It’s one of those solutions that initially can seem too simple, or maybe even too drastic, but regardless sometimes companies have to face the facts that such a change of direction is truly the best course of action.

I’m happy to see that it looks like Tim Hortons has become willing to recognize that they can benefit from a back to basics approach.
I think it would be fair to say that Canadians want the best for the icon company.






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Evan Walton

Evan Walton


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