Tim Hortons: always profitable

A court battle over frozen doughnuts offers a rare glimpse inside the books of Tim Hortons franchises

Always profitable

Photograph by Andrew Tolson

Anyone who has ever waited in a winding Tim Hortons lineup (i.e. every Canadian with a pulse) has shared the same fantasy: imagine owning this place. Brew. Sell. Repeat. Count. Ronald Joyce—the man who built “Timmy’s” into the national icon it is today—confirmed as much in his autobiography. “If there was ever a sure thing,” he wrote, “owning a Tim Hortons franchise was it.”

Joyce’s book doesn’t provide specific dollar figures, and the company isn’t in the habit of disclosing the annual earnings of individual franchisees. But a nasty court battle in Ontario has provided a rare glimpse of exactly how much cash the average Hortons store owner pockets in a year: $265,558.That’s 170,000 large cups of profit. Or, more fittingly, 332,000 frozen donuts.

As Maclean’s reported in September, a small group of angry franchisees has filed a $1.95-billion proposed class-action lawsuit against the Hortons head office, claiming the company’s decision to scrap in-store deep fryers and introduce “par-baked” goods (manufactured at a warehouse, then trucked frozen to stores) has taken a gigantic bite out of their bottom lines. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for this month, but it’s been postponed until August.

In the meantime, though, the company has filed a detailed breakdown of average store profit margins between 2002 (when the so-called “Always Fresh” system was first introduced) and 2008. The conclusion? Frozen donuts have actually been good for business. Extremely good.

During that seven-year span, the average Hortons outlet earned nearly $1.5 million (before interest and taxes) and watched profits grow from $174,280 in 2002 to more than $265,000 in 2008. Shops in Saskatchewan were especially lucrative; a typical franchisee in that province earned more than $396,000 in 2008—a 105 per cent jump from 2002.

Surprisingly, the lowest profits were recorded in Nova Scotia, where Tim Horton is practically a patron saint. The typical owner there earned just $203,721 in 2008, more than double the take from 2002.




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Tim Hortons: always profitable

  1. Riveting.

  2. Riveting.

  3. where do i find the filings that say how profitable the tim hortons are…..

  4. where do i find the filings that say how profitable the tim hortons are…..

  5. I knew an accountant that worked for Timmy's a few years ago.

    I was told that Tim Horton's corporate makes their greatest revenue and profits from….real estate.

  6. I knew an accountant that worked for Timmy's a few years ago.

    I was told that Tim Horton's corporate makes their greatest revenue and profits from….real estate.

  7. Too bad their donuts havent tasted good since they switched to Frozen.

  8. Too bad their donuts havent tasted good since they switched to Frozen.

  9. I wouldn't work for Tim Horton's…ever ! They treat their employees terrible. They should send undercover agents in to see just how bad it is to work there. If you wish to file a complaint or ask about things…then your hours are cut and you will suffer for it.

  10. I wouldn't work for Tim Horton's…ever ! They treat their employees terrible. They should send undercover agents in to see just how bad it is to work there. If you wish to file a complaint or ask about things…then your hours are cut and you will suffer for it.

  11. Actually I worked there for three years and loved it. However, I suspect it depends a lot on who runs the place. My bosses were fantastic, and worked 10 times as hard as anyone else in the place.

  12. I think average profit might be lower in Nova Scotia because there are so many of them. It's almost impossible to drive for 5 minutes in Halifax without passing by one. On the highways they are at every exit. I suspect every community of a couple of thousand people or more has one. Interesting fact to keep in mind, most franchise owners have multiple stores so many of them are pulling in a million+ a year.

  13. I think average profit might be lower in Nova Scotia because there are so many of them. It's almost impossible to drive for 5 minutes in Halifax without passing by one. On the highways they are at every exit. I suspect every community of a couple of thousand people or more has one. Interesting fact to keep in mind, most franchise owners have multiple stores so many of them are pulling in a million+ a year.

  14. I have a web site where I give investment advise on penny stocks and stocks under five dollars. I would just like to know why is it if the tim hortons franchises are so profitable why do these places pay such low wages what's their excuse. how are their own employees going to buy their doughnuts maybe the workers that can not afford them can go over to wallmart and buy some by the way wallmart pays their employees much better than most other retailers. they also have excellent benifits. when ever I go to a wallmart I see many older employees I don't mean in their forties or fifties but in their sixties or even seventies wallmart has a profit margain of just 3.5 percent yes I said three and one half cents on the dollar most of their employees are full time. you learn something every day don't you tim horton fans. by the way I don't work for wallmart. this company been given a very unfair label.

  15. I have a web site where I give investment advise on penny stocks and stocks under five dollars. I would just like to know why is it if the tim hortons franchises are so profitable why do these places pay such low wages what's their excuse. how are their own employees going to buy their doughnuts maybe the workers that can not afford them can go over to wallmart and buy some by the way wallmart pays their employees much better than most other retailers. they also have excellent benifits. when ever I go to a wallmart I see many older employees I don't mean in their forties or fifties but in their sixties or even seventies wallmart has a profit margain of just 3.5 percent yes I said three and one half cents on the dollar most of their employees are full time. you learn something every day don't you tim horton fans. by the way I don't work for wallmart. this company been given a very unfair label.

    • Having worked at Wal-Mart in the past for a number of years from cashier to assistant manager I can assure you that there are many negative aspects to Wal-Mart. While the overall company might post a 3.5% average profit margin that's partly due to the fact that there's a large relocation and expansionary drive throughout the company. There are also targets that each store has to meet in order for certain members in management to receive bonuses. Like reducing employment cost by so much in a given year, or stationary costs, ect… Bet you didn't know that the average new store has a turnover rate of about 80% in its first year. Or that while that certainly does improve even up to the 8th or 9th year of operation the turnover rate is still over 40%. While there are certainly many positive aspects to the company, I can tell you from firsthand experience that there are many more negative ones.

    • what’s their excuse for paying minimal wages? are you retarded or something?  the employees pour coffee and put donuts in little brown bags, not exactly rocket science. as such, TH pays the going market rate for people of this skill level. there is no excuse, it’s just math. TH corporation is not your mommy, and does not ‘care’ about you. they are in the business of making profits. if they don’t like their job they can quit. 

      some investment advisor you must be if you can’t even understand simple supply and demand. 

      • And running a donut shop is rocket science that deserves $300,000 a year?

        • Running a Tim Hortons is worth about 40 000 a year. Owning IS totally different. No one is paying the owner 300 000, they have taken on risk, given up capital and succeeded.

  16. Again the greed greed greed ….even if they paid 5% more their employees would be happy…..people forget the romanovs of russia…czar nicky! I know that it pushing it,(the peasants were actually starving) but a single person even working 40 hours a week at minimum wage is still in poverty

  17. >oyce's book doesn't provide specific dollar figures, and the company isn't in the habit of disclosing the annual earnings of >individual franchisees. But a nasty court battle in Ontario has provided a rare glimpse of exactly how much cash the average >Hortons store owner pockets in a year: $265,558

    Even after this kind of profit the still pay peanuts and abuse new immigrants. I hope people will see this and boycott them. It is not just about profit and cheap coffee but also about how you treat your employees.

    • So to pour coffee, and hand donuts to customers, employees should get paid $30.00 an hour ? You must be slightly insane. Also the reason that you pay an affordable amount for your coffee and donuts, is because the item prices are low. If you raised the minimum wage for coffee pourers and donut bag fillers to some ridiculous price, you would make all of us pay too much. Do you also hate all consumers ? By the way, you say they abuse new immigrants ? Exactly what do you mean ? Do they take them in the back room and beat them up ? Do they tie them down and torture them ? Do they pay them in coffee beans and bread ? You sound like a failed member of society. Perhaps you are an immigrant that is disgruntled, agressive, lazy, and unhappy to work for anyone, because they are all abusers ? Grow up, and take anger management classes, and try and become more positive, rather than screaming hysterically, at all the wrongs, perpetrated by the evil, wealthy.

  18. That figure of 265k can't be net profit. What does the franchisee still have to pay out from it?

  19. They acually pay a very fair wage, my daughter works there and works hard and has had more than 3 dollars in increase to her wage in the last 2 years and now she supervisor, so just like anything, hard work and persistance pays off. She LOVES her job too.

    • Wow 3 dollars over minimum wage. For a supervisor that is crap wages. She must enjoy eating Kraft Dinner on a daily basis.

  20. hi

    • helloooooooooooooooooo

  21. derpity derp derpson

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