How Tim Hortons refused to cooperate with a business reporter
Duncan Hood of The Toronto Globe and Mail writes about how restaurant chain Tim Hortons declined to cooperate with its retail reporter in writing a story about its changes.
Hood writes, “To find out what was going on, we enlisted The Globe’s award-winning retailing reporter, Marina Strauss, who boasts nearly 40 years of experience. She started at the top last October, requesting interviews with Elías Díaz Sesé, the new president of Tim Hortons, and Daniel Schwartz, the youthful and brilliant CEO of RBI.
“The two-month-long exchange that followed was strange, to say the least.
“At first, all we got were bland corporate brush-offs from the company’s media-relations account. Our reporter persisted and was eventually told interviews would be set up, but not until after the American Thanksgiving, near the end of November.
“In the meantime, we did get an interview with a more junior executive, plus a few franchise owners. But when we asked some basic questions about the executive’s age, wife and kids, we were told that we weren’t allowed to include any ‘personal’ information in the story, and they shut us down.
“What followed was a long and ultimately fruitless round of bargaining for access. They wouldn’t make their senior executives available unless we agreed to censor all ‘personal’ information from on-the-record interviews. They cancelled an interview with their head of store operations by e-mail just one hour before it was to take place (our reporter was half way to Hamilton, Ontario, when she found out). In the end, both their president and CEO refused to answer any questions at all, even by e-mail.”
Read more here.