New Saint-La­zare Tim Hor­tons clea­ring first hurdles

Ow­ners, young staff for­ging ahead

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

When the bright, spa­cious, new concept Tim Hor­tons ope­ned Dec. 16 on che­min Sainte-An­gé­lique, in SaintLa­zare, Car­din and Bin­cette were as rea­dy as they could be af­ter five years of planning, ho­ping and wai­ting to own their own fran­chise.

The couple from Les Co­teaux , pa­rents of two daugh­ters, said they felt like they won the lot­te­ry when Tim Hor­tons head office ap­pro­ved their re­quest to be­come first-time fran­chise ow­ners af­ter ma­ny years of wai­ting. The move was a leap of faith for the pair, who have in­ves­ted much more than hard-ear­ned mo­ney in­to the ven­ture. Prior to be­co­ming res­tau­rant ow­ners, Car­din wor­ked as a spe­cial care coun­sel­lor with spe­cial needs chil­dren, while Bin­cette wor­ked in a dis­tri­bu­tion centre. And though he had some ex­pe­rience ma­na­ging a small staff, he says over­seeing a staff of 35 em­ployees is ve­ry dif­ferent.

“Ni­ne­ty percent of our staff are tee­na­gers, and for most of them this is their first job,” Bin­cette no­ted, ad­ding all but th­ree em­ployees live in Saint La­zare.

And while both ow­ners, who are al­so lear­ning on the job af­ter ha­ving com­ple­ted se­ven weeks of cor­po­rate trai­ning, say gi­ving top cus­to­mer ser­vice is their first prio­ri­ty, they hope cus­to­mers will be pa­tient while the fran­chise works through its ope­ning gro­wing pains.

“Right now we are here so­me­times 20-hours a day,” Car­din said. “We’re ser­ving cus­to­mers, clea­ning tables,

As ow­ner-ope­ra­tors of the ne­west Tim Hor­tons in the re­gion, Ka­thy Car­din and Éric Bin­cette might be the most po­pu­lar people in Saint La­zare these days. But the ti­re­less couple who are run­ning on more than a few cups of their own cof­fee, are ho­ping cus­to­mers give them and their young staff a dose of pa­tience as they get up to speed.

ma­king sand­wiches along with our staff; we’re part of the same team.”

Sales du­ring the first two weeks were a lit­tle hi­gher than ex­pec­ted des­pite en­coun­te­ring pro­blems with the res­tau­rant’s de­bit card ma­chines, as well as its Internet ser­vice.

Car­din says their em­ployees, who had one week of trai­ning with ex­pe­rien­ced staff from other Tim Hor­tons res­tau­rants, are im­pro­ving each day.

But al­le­ged cus­to­mer com­plaints have led at least one pa­tron to take to a so­cial me­dia page im­plo­ring others to “show pa­tience and com­pas­sion with the em­ployees of our new Tim Hor­tons.”

The post went on to say: “no one is per­fect on a new job the first few weeks.”

Six­ty one people agreed with the sentiment, with ma­ny com­men­ding the young staff on gi­ving friend­ly ser­vice.

“We are a small com­mu­ni­ty and should not ex­pect a new bu­si­ness to find ex­pe­rien­ced staff,” ano­ther per­son wrote.

Part of the com­mu­ni­ty

Car­din and Bin­cette say they chose Saint-La­zare for their fran­chise lo­ca­tion be­cause they love the com­mu­ni­ty. Their ol­dest daugh­ter at­ten­ded Fo­rest Hill Sr. ele­men­ta­ry school be­fore going on to stu­dy at Col­lège Bour­get. “My fa­the­rin-law lives here and we want to move here soon,” Car­din no­ted.

The couple plans to be­come ve­ry in­vol­ved in the com­mu­ni­ty once their fran­chise is up to speed.

“Right now we have a lot of people co­ming to ask us to do­nate and we want to help as much as we can, but only once we can do it,” she said.

The new fran­chise has al­rea­dy agreed to spon­sor the cost of sen­ding two chil­dren from low in­come homes to camp this sum­mer, while it do­na­ted 50 back­packs filled with school sup­plies to the re­gio­nal CLSC, which helps dis­tri­bute the sup­plies to those in need.

And while the pa­rents are not seeing as much of their own kids as they would like these days, Car­din knows the round-the­clock shifts will soon end.

“I can see my­self wor­king a re­gu­lar shift, ta­king time off to go ska­ting at the park (Bé­dard) with my daugh­ters, then co­ming back here... for now this is a huge in­vest­ment for our fa­mi­ly, be­cause under the big Tim Hor­tons name, we are just a fa­mi­ly who want to be a part of this great com­mu­ni­ty.”

The Saint-La­zare Tim Hor­tons will hold an of­fi­cial grand ope­ning wi­thin the next two weeks.

PHOTO KRIS­TI­NA EDSON

Ka­thy Car­din and Éric Bin­cette are first-time ow­ner-ope­ra­tors of the ne­west Tim Hor­tons in the re­gion, lo­ca­ted in Saint-La­zare.

PHOTO KRIS­TI­NA EDSON

The new concept res­tau­rant in­cludes com­for­table sea­ting areas and an elec­tric fi­re­place.

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