Close your eyes and think of Tim Hortons. What usually comes to mind?
Is it smiling kids playing hockey in a sunny outdoorrink while their mom cheers on? It might be the friendly smile you get from your neighbour each morning on the way to work, or just the simple feeling of sipping a warm cup of coffee on a freezing February morning. Whatever it might be, Tim Horton's brand image is solidified and strong. No one can question that.
However, despite having a solid brand, it seems that these images and emotions are no longer resonating with Canadians. And that the feelings and overall respect that Canadians have for Tim Hortons are slowly changing.
A recent study conducted by Leger Research Group - Canada's largest polling, research and strategic marketing firm - shows that Tim Horton's popularity has plummeted over just a short year. In 2018 Tim Hortons finds itself in 50th positions (as you can see below). Whereas, in 2017 they were in the top 10. That's a massive drop.
It's official: Tim Horton's general popularity is withering away. There are several theories floating out there as to why this is happening. And it's not a surprise to Tim Horton's corporate office either.
For the first quarter of 2018, Tim Horton's recorded for the fifth time in a row a steady decrease in sale. Things are not looking up in the business world.
Many Ontarian's blame the underlying cause of the faltering sales and popularity on the mandatory minimum wage hike that had been imposed January 1st.
In order to offset the cost of increasing their employee's salaries, Tim Horton's had to make some high-level business decisions like increasing the price of their menu items and cut paid breaks to their employees. These changes, although seemingly small, have strong implications for the final customers.
To make matters worse for Tim Hortons, Instagram and coffee culture don't look like their stopping any time soon. Canadians are encouraging each other to support small businesses and promotion through social media has been steadily fueling this local coffee movement.
Lastly, we turned to our favorite place - Reddit, to see what people had to say about Tim Hortons. And it seems like many Redditors agree. Not only on the general loss of popularity, but the decrease in quality of the food, service, and even a comment about the quality of their coffee lids is continuously mentioned.
Many ex-customers complain about the quality of their baked goods. This was something Timmies was known for - freshness every day. All the bagels, doughnuts, and sandwiches buns were baked on site and served crispy and hot. Now, things have changed and the food "tastes like it's been sitting around all day."
As a result, it looks like many are either turning to their local coffee joints or good old McDonalds for their morning caffeine dose. It seems like not only does McD's provide a higher quality cup, the actual lid and paper cup is more solid and convenient for transport.
I'm positive that despite all this evidence, the coffee debate will rage on, that's what Reddit is for, right? But for those who were curious about why the lines at Tim Horton's seem to be getting shorter and shorter by the month. Know that - it's not just you, it's most definitely them.