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Tim Horton's Cuts Benefits and Breaks - An Inevitable Choice or Knee Jerk Reaction?

Posted by Chad Dawson

Jan 5th, 2018

Tim Horton's Cuts Benefits and Breaks - An Inevitable Choice or Knee Jerk Reaction?

Welcome 2018. A few Tim Horton's franchises, those owned by the founder’s heirs, have leapt to the forefront of the debate on minimum wage hikes. (See article below).

In response to the minimum wage hike that came into play January 1 - these franchisees have chosen to scale back benefits (more importantly - have employees pay more to keep what they have - especially newer employees) and to no longer pay for breaks.

As someone who works with hundreds of small businesses and with a good understanding of the numerous, sometimes overwhelming challenges they face - even I find this a bit of knee jerk reaction. I also find it surprising coming from the heirs of the founder. I have no knowledge of their situation - but I would presume they personally are financially set for life. So dumping this on the backs of employees would seem contradictory to good business. But maybe I'm missing the mark.

I suspect that the best small businesses, when faced with challenges in their market - things that cut to the core bottom line would view employee cuts as a last resort. And I mean cuts to hours, wages, benefits, jobs - everything. Employees make the business tick and good ones make it hum - especially in a service business. Cutting back without fully exploring other options, other markets, other avenues for growing revenues or cutting expenses leaves a permanent scar - not easily healed when things improve.

A lot of Tim Horton's customers are regulars and likely know the employees who sling their coffee well. Bantering back and forth with staff for these regulars is likely an enjoyable and welcome part of their day. I know lots - and I mean lots of people who visit the same Tim's daily - even though it's out of the way of their regular routes to and from work - and it's all because of the relationships they have developed with the people who work there (and for sure not the owners!).

So - what do you think? A bad idea? A good idea? A proactive necessity? A massive blunder? Looking forward to hearing your take on LinkedIn!

Questions? Contact me at

Tim Horton's Cuts Benefits and Breaks - An Inevitable Choice or Knee Jerk Reaction?

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