Tim Hortons confirms it cut 350 people in layoffs this week

Burger King announced in August it will acquire Tim Hortons and re-locate to Ontario.
Burger King announced in August it will acquire Tim Hortons and re-locate to Ontario. CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

TORONTO – About 350 employees lost their jobs at Tim Hortons this week in cuts focused mainly at its headquarters and regional offices.

A spokeswoman for the company told The Canadian Press on Thursday that all affected employees have been told and the layoffs are within commitments made to Industry Canada to maintain certain job levels.

The company has a total of 2,300 employees at its headquarters, regional offices and distribution centres across the country.

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Tim Hortons merged with Burger King under Restaurant Brands International (TSX:QSR) late last year, and the company’s new owner was widely expected to cut staff.

The company began notifying staff who were being cut earlier this week, but declined to provide figures for the cuts until after the reorganization was complete.

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“There are very difficult and necessary choices,” company spokeswoman Alexandra Cygal said.

Part of Ottawa’s stipulations in approving the merger required the company to maintain staff levels at its franchised restaurants for five years.

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Employees at its offices were not protected under that agreement, though the company plans to maintain its headquarters in Oakville, Ont.

Tim Hortons has five warehouse distribution centres, in Calgary; Guelph and Kingston, Ont.; Debert, N.S.; and Aldergrove, B.C.

Since the Tim Hortons and Burger King merger was announced last year, some analysts and franchisees have voiced concerns over the reputation of 3G Capital, the Brazilian investment firm that owns roughly 70 per cent of the merged company.

3G Capital is known for stripping the assets of acquired companies to boost profits, laying off thousands of employees at food company Heinz and beer company Anheuser-Busch when it took over their operations.