I have frequently been baffled why franchisors react so poorly when challenged by the media or informed observers. They tend to give the impression that they are as guilty as sin, although the allegations that are leveled at them seem, at first blush, to be quite minor.
In an advocate’s world, it is the opponent’s re-action that is most telling. And if they choose to behave like a tobacco company, then they may very well have other secrets to hide as well.
A good case is Tim Hortons. I picked up a terrific news article from the perennially useful New Zealand franchise article aggregator franchise-chat.com.
In Trouble is brewing in doughnut land, a local reporter muses aloud why he can’t get a tour of a massive distribution centre in his home town, let alone the doughnut-making central commissary in another local city.
It sounds like a simple enough request: One most corporations would want to show off as the usual corporate spin. But wait…
…why Tim Hortons seems reluctant to allow Guelphites a look into the giant distribution centre it built two years ago in Guelph’s end, serving its coffee shops in southern Ontario and further afield.
I’ve had no success with Tim Hortons’ public relations department getting into the massive, fortress-like building. It’s been difficult even getting calls returned by the department, which insists Tim Hortons is busy resolving operational glitches in Guelph.
A little touchy maybe with a new, potential $2-billion franchisee lawsuit putting head office on edge these days?
The franchise owners claim profits have plunged since Tim Hortons, the franchisor, switched to frozen baked goods and expanded its lunch menu, alleging in part negligent misrepresentation as costs for frozen food rose higher than expected.
Tim Hortons is a Canadian cultural icon with 3,200 stores across North America. The system is named after an actual hockey player, Tim Horton, who was as tough, unyielding and flawed as any northern Canadian winter.
As is frequently the case, franchisors are only interested in engaging in good news communications with the media and the communities where they draw their $62-million 1st quarter profits from.