Let those Eastern pastries freeze in the dark

Later that afternoon, when called by a reporter again, Mr. Arsenault referred comment to Ms. Jameson. "I’d like to talk, I don’t have anything to hide, but I can’t," he said. "We have been very, very, very happy with the results and my bottom line shows that customers are, too."

National Post
October 17, 2003

Let those Eastern pastries freeze in the dark
Tim Hortons test
Deborah Tetley

CALGARY – Tim Hortons’ "Always Fresh" slogan is under scrutiny as the chain rolls out a plan to use frozen pastries in some stress across the country.

Several outlets in Calgary have already traded in fryers for ovens and freezers, according to local franchise owners. Their doughnuts, muffins and pastries will be produced and partially baked in Brampton, frozen at the warehouse facility northwest of Toronto and shipped to Alberta, where the baking is completed.

Bruce Bayne, a Calgarian and Tim Hortons customer, was surprised by the pre-frozen plan. "You’re joking me," he said. "That can’t be. You’re kidding. That … that totally shocks me."

Officials at Tim Hortons’ Oakville head office would not confirm the apparent move from doughy-fresh to frozen.

"I’m not disclosing where we’re doing anything," said Patti Jameson, vice-president of corporate communications. "I’m not sure where you’re even getting your information that we’re even doing anything in your area."

Ms. Jameson said the company is always testing new products and procedures. Some become public, some do not. She cites competition concerns when declining to elaborate. "There’s no secret," she said. "For competitive reasons, we don’t talk about all of the number of things that we have on the go and what our assessments are of them."

Ms. Jameson is elusive when asked what the company wants Canadians to think when they hear "Always Fresh."

"Always fresh means what it’s always meant," she said. "It means we have the freshest in parking lot cleanliness and in-store cleanliness. The freshest in product and quality … you know, it always means the same."

A clerk at a Calgary store yesterday confirmed the frozen-then-baked procedure has been in place for "about four months now."

Alan Arsenault, the store owner, said yesterday morning that since July 1, his store has baked the "95% frozen product" for about three minutes in an oven. He said the chain is still in the middle of the roll-out, with successful changes in Eastern and Atlantic Canada over the past year or so.

Later that afternoon, when called by a reporter again, Mr. Arsenault referred comment to Ms. Jameson.

"I’d like to talk, I don’t have anything to hide, but I can’t," he said. "We have been very, very, very happy with the results and my bottom line shows that customers are, too."

Craig Fidler, a Calgary restaurant server, said the new procedure strains the truth of the "Always Fresh" motto. "Frozen never comes to mind when you think fresh." He reconsiders his answer: "Unless it’s fresh frozen."


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