Less than a year after it was created, a group looking to raise Tim Hortons franchisees’ concerns over the chain’s management has recruited half of all of Tim Hortons Canadian franchisees into its ranks.The Great White North Franchisee Association president David Hughes said in a letter sent to all franchisees that half of the chain’s franchisees have shown they support the significant issues the group publicizes.The association incorporated in March to raise franchisee concerns, including the use of advertising funds and cost-cutting measures that it says impact quality.Hughes said the GWNFA has decided to defer fee payments over a six-month period to give struggling store owners the chance to join, noting that many do so anonymously.The president encouraged franchisees to join the growing group, and said the association hopes to hold elections for a new board of directors in January 2018.The GWNFA and parent company Restaurant Brands International (TSX:QSR) have been at odds since its formation, and have initiated legal actions against each other.The GWNFA filed a $500-million lawsuit in June alleging RBI improperly used money from a national advertising fund. The allegations have not been proven in court and RBI has said it vehemently disagrees with and denies the allegations.In September, RBI subsidiary TDL Group Corp. served default notices to the association’s board members, including Hughes. The company accused them of providing confidential information to Tim Hortons former CEO Don Schroeder, who then allegedly gave it to a Canadian newspaper. Schroeder and the GWNFA have denied these claims.The association then filed a lawsuit alleging RBI, its subsidiary and several executives continually subvert their right to associate. None of the claims have been proven in court and Tim Hortons has called the lawsuit unfounded.Hughes told franchisees in the letter that the association’s efforts have helped bring about significant changes.“But we still have many issues still to tackle in order to bring profitability and sustainability to each of you.”
Following the news about the South African facility IM broke on June 21, FLSmidth has just opened an all-in-one service centre (a Supercenter), in Renca, Santiago, Chile. The centre is one of eight planned to be built in countries where FLSmidth has significant mining and cement operations. “This Santiago Supercenter, just as other FLSmidth Supercenters, is tailored to increase customer plant efficiency and safety among other critical offerings,” said George Robles, FLSmidth country manager for Chile. “Through this Supercenter, our customer relationships are expanded and services are tailored to meet their needs while we are also reaching out to the local universities and communities to enhance education and skills.” The centre allows for proximity to customers for timely parts delivery and support, strategic stock, re-build and repair capabilities, a training room for customers and their staff to learn to use equipment optimally among other uses, small-scale laboratory services and, increased employment opportunities in the community. Currently, FLSmidth employs approximately 60 people at its two Chilean service facilities and a total of 850 in Chile. The Santiago Supercenter is located at Calle Fresia 2132, Renca.To celebrate the new facility, FLSmidth sponsored a Supercenter grand opening on June 14, which was attended by employees and community members. The opening included a ribbon cutting.“A unique element of the FLSmidth Supercenter concept is our community outreach,” said Romy Martin, supercenter director, who spoke at the ribbon cutting event. “We believe in impacting the local societies with what we do best, which is offering knowledge, training, and the development of people. When we are developing our local societies, we are also improving and enhancing our and our customers’ businesses. This and our other Supercenters will host trainings and educational meetings to enrich the community.”When completed, the eight Supercenters will be in six countries: Tucson, Arizona, USA; Brisbane and Perth, Australia; Arequipa, Peru; Antofagasta and Santiago, Chile; Khanbogd, Mongolia; and Delmas, South Africa.