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Tim Hortons president speaks plus more from our bloggers


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Jo Kirchner, CEO of Primrose Schools, is testing child care centers based in employers’ headquarters.

Jo Kirchner, CEO of Primrose Schools, believes effective advocacy starts long before a leader pushes to get something done. “The key is building trusted relationships, and before they’re needed,” she told Franchise Times. That way, “when there are opportunities to advocate, you have a voice.” Kirchner received the Bonnie LeVine Award from the International Franchise Association in February, in recognition of her commitment to the mentorship of women, and we finally caught up with her recently for an interview. “When you have to advocate for something you passionately believe in, people are more open to responding to you if you’ve already built a relationship,” she said. The Bonnie LeVine Award is given each year to a woman leader who not only has grown a successful business but also has made an impact on the communities that those businesses serve, Kirchner said. “So for me personally it’s recognition of my personal passion for children and early education,” she said, adding it’s also “awesome recognition” for all Primrose operators.  “The ability for them to step out and lead in their communities is part of what I do in mentorship,” she said.


Hortons Prez Speaks

When Alex Macedo took the president’s role at Tim Hortons in December 2017, he stepped into the midst of franchisee dissent on both sides of the border. (See page 58 for details.) Starting the first week of May, he’s trying to change the narrative by taking management’s story to the public and to the franchisees. “A lot has been said. It’s not clear to me what’s true and what’s not true,” he said in an interview with FT on May 4, the first he or any other Tim Hortons executive has given about the problems. “Listen, we’ve had a tough time communicating with the franchisees and making clear the plan, and now we’ll have a plan to fix that,” Macedo said. The plan is called “winning together,” which has three pillars. “One is restaurant experience, which has to do with all the touch points when they’re in our facilities,” he said. In March, Tim Hortons launched a renovation program with a new image. “Our plan is to get 50 percent of the system with the new image by 2021.” The second pillar is “product excellence, having a great pipeline of superior product innovation,” he said. Third is “brand communications. It’s talking about your brand position, bringing the best of Canada to the communities we serve.”


Wing Zone to WZ Eats

After a “brutal year in the wings business” in which product prices soared and Wing Zone closed 17 stores, the 25-year-old franchise born out of a Florida frat house is re-branding as WZ Eats, CEO and co-founder Matt Friedman announced at the Franchise Times Finance & Growth Conference in May. “The time has come for us to take a leap of faith,” he said, saying the company is also seeking an investor. “The fact is we have a limited amount of capital. We have no debt but ultimately we need capital to grow.” The first re-branded WZ Eats store, set to open July 2, is slated for 923 West University Avenue in Gainesville, Florida, the same location as the original store. “It was founded in 1993 in Gainesville, Florida. Go Gators!” he said. “I was 21 years old.”


Goodbye Greco

Suzanne Greco’s retirement from Subway ends her tenure as chief executive of the world’s largest restaurant company, a position she took after the death of her brother and company founder Fred DeLuca in 2015 left the company reeling. “Everybody was in a period of mourning and shock. They had lost the founder and leader they’d relied on for 50 years. That takes a long time to get over,”Joe Tripodi, Subway’s chief marketing officer, told Franchise Times in a story by Julie Bennett last October. Trevor Haynes, chief business development officer at Subway, was named interim CEO effective May 2. Greco will officially retire June 30.

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