Tim Hortons raises prices on some breakfast items following minimum wage dispute

Cornelia Mascio
Gennaio 13, 2018

It wouldn't provide details on exact locations or menu items, or by how much items are going up.

Some, but not all, of the chain's franchisees have said employees will have to cover a larger share of their dental and health-care benefits as well as take unpaid breaks in order to offset the added costs of the province's hourly minimum wage rate increase to $14 an hour on January 1.

The chain previously raised prices on some hot beverage and breakfast menu items in August, less than six months ago. Really? Will they raise their prices?

"Usually when prices go up, it's not very municipal, it's a large area", he said.

Art Jaszczyk posted on Facebook that his local Tim Hortons in Toronto raised the price of a bagel sandwich breakfast meal from $6.77 to $7.

There has also been a social media movement to boycott some Tim Hortons franchises.

"Twenty-three cents doesn't sound like much, but I thought, hey, they're moving fast", said Jaszczyk.

At least one analyst believes Tim Hortons customers will ultimately pay more for their double-doubles after a backlash sparked by cuts to employee benefits by some franchise owners linked to the increase in Ontario's minimum wage. We know the story. Protesters gathered outside Tim Hortons locations across Ontario this week, with hopes such rallies will send a message to franchisees and parent company Restaurant Brands International.

The Great White North Franchisee Association, which represents half of Canadian Tim Hortons franchisees, said the minimum wage hike and other changes to the province's labour laws will cost the average franchisee $243,889 a year.

He said stock in Restaurant Brands International (RBI) has come under pressure due to negative media reports related to cost control steps by franchisees, including cutting employee hours, eliminating paid breaks and reducing the subsidy of employee benefits. When it did not, the association said, many franchisees were "left no alternative but to implement cost saving measures in order to survive".

Despite the close timing, Tim Hortons says the latest price hikes have nothing to do with the dispute with franchise owners. "These were merely slight menu board adjustments totally unrelated to minimum wage increases", said a spokesperson in an email to CBC News.

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