Students expecting to start their morning with a coffee from the campus Tim Hortons are in for a rude awakening. Despite months of negotiations between Tim Hortons management and Food Services, the University of Calgary owned franchise permanently closed April 17 due to a mutual decision to allow the contract to lapse.
U of C Director of Ancillary Services Peter Fraser described the university’s decision as financial.
"It was a mutual agreement," said Fraser. "We took a look at the net revenue and the options we have for the spot and they wanted a substantial reinvestment in money. Looking at the costs of the bottom line and the costs of investment, we weren’t going to make any money in the next five years."
While the decision was purely financial for the university, Tim Hortons Corporate Communications Officer Diane Slopak expressed there were other important issues for the company.
"We had some operational concerns and we couldn’t come to an agreement," stated Slopak. "We’ve got some very high standards and we had some concerns with respect to that location and how the operation was being run."
Both parties also cited renovations and upgrades as areas of concern in the negotiations.
In spite of the disappearance of the Tim Hortons franchise, Food Services now offers similar products from the same location, including premium-blend coffee and doughnuts.
Director of Food Services George Thomson said that student feedback was balanced.
"Not a lot of comments, but quite mixed," reported Thomson. "It’s almost equal. Some people are now buying their coffee where they weren’t buying it before. The only negative comments have been about the coffee, but nothing about the [other] product[s]."
According to Thomson, plans for the fall are not concrete, but the site will likely have a new franchise.
"[The location] will offer morning items, lunch and dinner items as we have now," noted Thomson. "It won’t just service lunch, but all day, and it does big business with Weekend University."
Food Services hopes to have a deal ready in early July.