Larry, B2B Consultant
I was so happy when a Tim Hortons coffee and donut shop opened on the US side of the Canadian border. Whenever I visited family in International Falls, Minnesota, I made a point to bring my passport so I could cross the border to Fort Frances, Ontario where I was able to enjoy a thriving store with unique donut options and excellent coffee. Keep in mind, to cross the border at that point requires a fee as you first have to cross a toll bridge to get to the actual border crossing. So those donuts had to be good!
Why did Tim Hortons fail to be profitable in the US?
My opinion is that they carried the name across the border without carrying the level of service that I found at the Canadian branch. At one location my wife and I were the only customers in the store and we were outnumbered by Tim Hortons employees. However, there was not one table cleaned and ready for new customers. At another store, they did not even carry my favorite Oreo cookie donut, which I think is a trademark of the franchise. I recently visited another franchise only to learn that many of their choices were not available. This is when it became obvious to me that the franchise could not continue.
Typically, I would rather eat at locally owned and operated businesses, rather than a franchise. Of course there are good reasons to eat at franchises as you know what to expect as far as menu choices and a certain level of service.
Locally owned non-franchise places depend on building a reputation of their own, spread by word of mouth or social media.
Local businesses must learn from the errors of places like Hortons to stay profitable.
stay in business.
If you enjoy trying out the locally owned places as I do, remember to post a Yelp review for that business. More people are using reviews as a deciding factor when choosing where to dine or buy products. Locally owned businesses can find creative ways to encourage customers to post their experience on social media or post a review on Yelp or Google. Engaging a team of professionals to assist in this effort is worth directing some advertising dollars to, in order to get the benefit of obtaining reviews and knowing how to boost them to get maximum results.
While some web design companies offer this service, not all of them do and not all that do are experienced in this realm. Make some inquiries before committing to making the investment. In the event the business has had some negative reviews, a good web company can work with the business to address those concerns and turn some negative comments into positive change.