1. What is the Great White North Franchisee Association?
The Great White North Franchisee Association (GWNFA) is an alliance of loyal Canadian Tim Hortons franchisees from coast to coast, formed to address mismanagement of franchise operations by The TDL Group Corp. (TDL) and its parent company, Restaurant Brands International (RBI). Mismanagement has impacted Tim Hortons in a number of ways, most notably with a decline in quality products.
2. Why was GWNFA formed?
GWNFA aims to serve as a united voice for Tim Hortons franchisees concerned about the increasing mismanagement of Tim Hortons franchise operations by The TDL Group Corp. (TDL) and its parent company, Restaurant Brands International (RBI). GWNFA’s primary goal is to ensure that Tim Hortons franchisees can deliver on the exceptional quality, value and customer experience that the Tim Hortons brand has become known for – and Canadians deserve and expect.
3. Who can become a member?
Membership is open to all Tim Hortons franchisees that own or operate Tim Hortons franchises, except for those franchises that are owned or operated by, or affiliated with, TDL Group Corp. or Restaurant Brands International or its owners.
4. Is membership mandatory?
Membership is voluntary but franchisees are strongly encouraged to join. The more members we have, the stronger our Association will be. With strong representation, it is more likely that we can effect meaningful change and successfully advocate on behalf of Tim Hortons franchisees.
5. Is there a fee to become a member? How much is the fee?
The annual cost of membership is on a per-store basis. For each store that joins, you are entitled to one vote in decisions relating to the Association. The cost per store is $1,000.00 plus HST for the first year, with a commitment of an additional $1,000.00 plus HST per store within the first year, if and when requested by the Association. The membership fee for subsequent years may increase or decrease, depending on the needs of the Association. Such increases or decreases will be determined by the Association’s Board of Directors, elected by its members.
6. What will the membership fee go towards?
The Association is a not-for-profit organization formed for the benefit of franchisees by fellow Tim Hortons restaurant owners. Our start-up costs include legal, communications, and other professional advice, as well as hiring office employees who will help to manage the Association. Independent audits will be performed annually, and a breakdown of costs will be provided in an annual report.
7. Hasn’t RBI refused to negotiate with the Association? If so, what’s the point of GWNFA?
Up to this point, RBI has refused to engage with the Association and has actively sought to discourage franchisees from joining. But this has not affected momentum behind the Association, increased membership and our progress in effecting important changes for members. GWNFA is not going away, and RBI will have no choice but to acknowledge and collaboratively work with us.
8. How do I become a member?
To become a member of GWNFA, please complete a membership application, available here. Members have the option to register anonymously. [link to membership application] .
9. How many members are there?
GWNFA is growing quickly. We have reached critical mass and new members continue to join daily.
10. What are the key issues / concerns of the Association?
The GWNFA’s immediate concerns regarding the mismanagement of Tim Hortons by RBI include, but are not limited to, the following:
• RBI’s profit center re-engineering;
• Unattainable standards through its Global Performance System (GPS);
• Reduction in and misuse of advertising funds;
• General lack of transparency and accountability by RBI in its relations with franchisees;
• Inflated cost of product and supplies that are enriching RBI and 3B at the expense of the franchisees.
11. How does the Association differ from RBI’s Advisory Board?
The Advisory Board was established by RBI, which determines its structure and sets its agenda. It was put in place to represent Tim Hortons restaurant owners’ best interests, but has not been effective in this role. Items have been approved without voting and board members have been reprimanded for airing concerns. The Association was formed to serve as a united voice for Tim Hortons franchisees concerned about the increasing mismanagement of Tim Hortons franchise operations by The TDL Group Corp. and its parent company, RBI.
12. How is RBI responding to the Association’s concerns?
It was only after a letter was sent to TDL Group/RBI from the Association’s legal counsel that RBI began directly responding to key, recurrent concerns of franchisees. There are many franchisees who have been emailing and contacting RBI and the Advisory Board for months, with no response to their questions or concerns.
13. What is GPS?
GPS is RBI’s Global Performance System. GPS standards apply to almost every conceivable aspect of a store’s operations, from the number of transactions carried out, to the speed of service for drive-thru customers, as well as requirements to use inflated-cost cleaning equipment or supplies that are often unavailable.
14. Is the GPS effective at raising standards in-store? Is that good for the brand and for customers?
In theory, a standard performance system is established to maintain consistent store practices to benefit consumers. Unfortunately, the system RBI currently has in place sets standards that are completely unattainable. The system is unyielding, and is applied without any consideration for context, which is of no benefit to the brand or customers. There are no allowances are made for unique local challenges, such as labour shortages, average order sizes which vary greatly between stores, or the distance between the menu and drive-thru window, which affects waiting times.
15. RBI claims its strategy is all about innovation and improving Tim Hortons’ competitive position in an increasingly competitive market – isn’t there logic to this?
Franchisees recognize the need for innovation and change, and have willingly supported or initiated many improvements to the business over the years. But changes should be made with meaningful consultation, and implemented in a way that is fair, sustainable and minimizes disruption. This is not happening under RBI’s management.
16. Does the Association’s existence divide the company and give competitors an edge?
Ultimately, we want a fair and collaborative relationship with RBI, but to get there, we need an independent voice. RBI’s Advisory Board has proven impotent at representing franchisees and their best interests. Our primary goal is to ensure that Tim Hortons franchisees are able to deliver on the exceptional quality, value and customer experience that the Tim Hortons brand has become known for. And we intend to do this by building a strong community, and working productively with RBI.
If you have additional questions or concerns, you are encouraged to contact GWNFA via telephone, email or contact form.