More than one third of Canadians say their view of Tim Hortons has worsened over the last few years amid a public airing of grievances between the company and its franchisees, according to a new Angus Reid Institute poll.
The survey results, released Tuesday, show 35 per cent of respondents have a deteriorating opinion of the coffee-and-doughnut chain, while only nine per cent held that view for rival brand Starbucks.
The findings come amid an ongoing feud between Tim Hortons and its franchisees as the chain faces complaints over food quality in the wake of its sale to Brazilian private equity firm 3G Capital in 2014.
The majority of respondents (59 per cent) said the food quality at Tim Hortons has stayed the same over the last five years, while 21 per cent said it has worsened. Nearly one-in-five (19 per cent) said the coffee quality has gone down the drain, while only seven per cent said the same for Starbucks.
But customers think Tim Hortons is suffering more in the customer-service department, according to the poll, with one-quarter saying it has worsened, while only eight per cent said it has improved.
The ongoing public dispute hasn’t phased everyone, however. The majority of respondents’ to the poll said their view of the iconic Canadian brand hasn’t changed (53 per cent), the majority (70 per cent) agreed that Tim Hortons plays a part in defining Canadian culture, and 62 per cent still regularly patronize the chain.
The poll findings are from an online survey conducted between Feb. 28 and March 2, 2018 among a random sample of 1,501 Canadian adults.