Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee and doughnut chain that was acquired by Burger King last year, has abruptly closed over 20 locations in the Northeast — in Maine, New York City, and upstate New York — without warning. Not only were staff not given notice, but Consumerist reports that customers dining inside the restaurants were told to leave as employees were turning the lights out for the final time in the middle of the day.
The shutters happened this past Wednesday and Thursday, with multiple reports saying store managers and employees found out the day of the closure. Some managers were told the night before. "Went home and received a phone call that it was it. There is no work tomorrow. So I had to go on and call all of my employees and tell them that don't show up to work tomorrow. That this is it," Pamela Levison, a Tim Hortons store manager, told TWCNews.
The company plans to close more locations in Providence, R.I., and into Connecticut, but, vaguely, says it has plans to expand "elsewhere in the United States."
Neither Tim Horton's nor Burger King corporate responded to requests for further information or explanation for the abrupt shutters. Tim Hortons has not announced how many locations total will be closed in the coming weeks. The company released the following statement to the press:
"In line with our vision to deliver a great Guest experience while building and strengthening the Tim Hortons brand, we continuously review the performance of our restaurants. As we build the foundation for accelerated growth in the U.S., we have decided to close some restaurants in New York. We are supporting our Restaurant Owners in their transition and remain excited about the opportunities to expand the iconic Tim Hortons brand in the U.S.
We thank our guests, the restaurant Team Members and the Restaurant Owners."
Since it purchased Tim Hortons in a deal valued at over $11 billion, Burger King has been riding high. Reports earlier this year showed company sales were up over 9 percent. In light of the recent closures of Tim Hortons locations, QSR — the stock symbol for Restaurant Brands International, which combines Burger King and Tim Hortons — was down in after hours trading.