The big news in the fast food business today is Burger King’s purchase of Tim Hortons for $11.4 billion.
The deal would create the world’s third-largest fast-food chain, with 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries.
The new group would have a market capitalisation of about $18bn and annual sales in the region of $23bn.
Burger King’s majority shareholder, 3G Capital, will own about 51% of the merged company.
Analysts have much to say about the deal in terms of market share, stock price and long-term impact. Customers may mostly be wondering if their usual menu is going to get shaken up.
Interest on this runs especially high in Canada because Tim Hortons is a beloved institution to a degree not seen at all in the U.S.
I am generalizing, of course. Not everyone loves Timmy’s. But Tim Hortons commands what I’ll call Canada’s public space in terms of grabbing a coffee or a quick bite. In place after place across Canada that is where people gather and cross paths, from all walks of life.
Hence the news has many Canadians wondering – no worrying – what it may mean, as shown in this coverage from CBC:
…what’s at stake for the Canadian icon?
“Tim’s won’t die because of foreign ownership, they’ll die because foreign ownership will bring forth … death by a thousand cuts,” says Alan Middleton, executive director of York University’s Schulich Executive Education Centre.
In a joint press release, the two entities reassured customers that they’d continue to operate “as standalone brands,” promising to preserve each companies’ “iconic brands.”
But such early day promises don’t always last.
While this announcement has its own resonance for investors and the business landscape of fast food outlets, I’m wondering where fast food fits into readers’ lives these days.
I don’t drink coffee, and doughnuts are not my friend as I try to hold the line on middle-age spread. Matter of fact, most fast food has become unattractive to me for a variety of reasons. But we go on long road trips where finding a washroom becomes somewhat attractive. I don’t have a data plan for my phone, so free wifi is another attraction. (Note: It’s only polite to buy something when utilizing services, so I will get a pastry, or a side of fries at the golden arches.)
The public radio demographic is famously stereotyped as Prius-driving, granola heads. So the sample audience for this post may well lean toward outliers (which Merriam-Webster defines as “a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample”).
Still, I am curious. Canadians, is Tim’s really special to you? If so, can you describe why?
And readers on both sides of the border, have you seen your relationship with fast food change over the years? How so and why? Do you see that happening in general, or just in more health-conscious spheres?
For me, fast food chains have become occasional travel hubs that have almost nothing to do with the food they offer. What are they to you?