Who was Tim Horton and how was he linked with the creation of the iconic brand that bears his name? This is one of the questions that Douglas Hunter addresses in his latest book, Double Double: How Tim Hortons Became a Canadian Way of Life, One Cup at a Time.
Hunter provides a narrative that covers the birth of the company through its merger with another chain in Wendy’s; to its current competition for dominance in the Canadian market.
Double Double, however, is not simply a book about Tim Hortons; it is also a look at history of the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry in Canada.
From the early days of QSRs to now defunct ventures such as Mother’s (does anyone else remember them?), Hunter presents a good (and nostalgic) overview of QSRs in Canada.
Hunter also does not shy from controversy, going in-depth into the lawsuits surrounding both the purchase of the rest of the company from Horton’s widow following his accident and the parbaking* dispute between the ownership and some of its franchisees.
While classified as a business book, I felt that this is almost more of a cultural study as it brought to mind Fast Food Nation at times, especially whilst discussing the food production end, such as parbaking*. Non business readers would be able to engage with this book, with such topics as Tim Horton and his life as an NHL player to Tim Hortons becoming an obligatory campaign stop for politicians trying to build their ‘everyman’ persona – in spite the fact that they don’t drink coffee (you have to read the book to find out who).
Double Double is our Indigo MBA pick for November; watch this space for a further post.
* Parbaking is when the food product is partially baked centrally then quickly frozen and distributed to stores, allowing them to finish baking the product on demand.