Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tim Hortons Controversies

After Tim Hortons had agreed to provide 250 cups of free coffee for a "Marriage and Family Day" hosted by the National Organization for Marriage, the company removed its sponsorship after it was revealed that the NOM was an organization that campaigns against gay marriage.[101] The company stated the sponsorship was a violation of the company's policy not to sponsor events "representing religious groups, political affiliates or lobby groups."[101][102][103]

In 1995 the Toronto Star had a story reflecting on Tim Hortons "selling out" to Wendy's with "the spectacle of another great Canadian icon, one more priceless chocolate coconut cream-filled dutchie glazed cruller Timbit of our precious heritage, gone to Yankee burgerfat, (rounding) out the menus of the two chains by blending Tim Hortons morning meals and snacks with the strength enjoyed by Wendy's in lunches and dinners; burp; and nobody around to pass the Maalox?"[104]

Tim Hortons switch to a parbaking system has disappointed some die-hard customers, who note that this contradicts the chain's “always fresh” slogan. David Swick reported in the Halifax Daily News on 19 September 2003 Tim Hortons outlets in Atlantic Canada would no longer serve fresh donuts, but rather donuts that had been remotely factory-fried and then frozen and shipped.[105] A 2009 New York Timescontrasted the baked from scratch at stores approach of Krispy Kreme and some Dunkin' Donuts locations compared to the "flash frozen" and shipped Tim Hortons method. The NY Times article also noted an apparent scarcity of doughnut specialties such as the dutchie at newly opened Tim Hortons stores in New York City. Noting that "American visitors tend to flock to the sweets", including the "raisin-studded Dutchie", the Times found redemption among Canadians that the brand is once again a Canada based company while contrasting the way politicians in the U.S. "woo" soccer mom while in Canada they "go after Tim Hortons voters".[106]

In many communities, Tim Hortons paper cups are common examples of street trash

In September 2006, Tim Hortons courted controversy by mandating that employees were not to wear red as part of the Red Fridays campaign by families of the military to show support for Canadian troops. Within a few hours, Tim Hortons partially reversed its position and has allowed staff in Ontario stores to wear red ribbons or pins to show support for the wear red on Fridays campaign.[107]

Some have complained about the packaging litter that appears around Tim Hortons outlets. In 2005 Mark Dittrick, a spokesman for the Sierra Club's Atlantic Canada chapter, said that "The Tim Hortons cup is easily the No. 1 recognizable item of litter in the country."[108]

According to the blog Coffee and Conversation, "Tim Hortons does not sell organic coffee, does not sell Fair trade coffee, and does not disclose the source of its green beans".[109] As of 2007, Tim Hortons website said that they decided against using Fair Trade coffee.[110] Instead they created a program called theSustainable Coffee Program; the first program was launched in Guatemala and in 2006 they started programs in Colombia and Brazil[111] where they are "directly involved with coffee producing communities by providing direct financial assistance for technical training to improve the quantity and quality of coffee produced and assist farmers in getting their coffee to market at the best time and for the best price. Assistance is also provided on environmental management, in both proper farming techniques and reforestation projects, led by Tim Hortons." In addition, Tim Hortons supported schools and sponsored medical clinics in Guatemala. The annual report mentions this program but does not specify whether the beans they purchase are sourced from this program. The report only mentions "multiple suppliers of coffee".[112]

In 2013, a Tim Horton's in London, Ontario, citing company policy, refused to allow a boy who was suffering an asthma attack to call 911 for an ambulance, claiming that customers cannot use store phones for any purpose, even life and death emergencies. They also refused to call on his behalf.[113]