When it comes to the Canadian economy, Tim Hortons is like the Beatles — to the point of being able to adopt new systems of information delivery in its own sweet time.
Case in point, the chain's Facebook page was up to 1.7 million followers before it committed to Twitter. The easy ride Tim's has received in the national media no doubt contributed to the lack of hurry.
Yet the recent corporate turmoil — which led to the cushioned exit in May of chief executive Don Schroeder — also reflected a lack of success at interacting with customers. After all, they were counting on more Roll Up the Rim to Win prizes to offset any social media backlash. A profit slip was subsequently blamed on the giveaways.
While Tim Hortons could still count on a steady flow of stories for opening in Dubai or introducing lasagna, it faced a potential public relations snag last month when it was learned that a reverend apparently had an overly amorous lesbian couple ejected from a location in Blenheim, Ont. The company seemed to let the outcry run its course — by saying as little about the incident as it could.
Stepping into the public arena of Twitter, though, might also be an invitation to blunder. No doubt, given the effort to plant a Tim's or two in every neighbourhood in Canada, people will eventually expect responses about issues more complicated than a latte.