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Blue Blogging Soapbox
...rambling rants, thoughts and musings on mostly political topics - from your late night blogger.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Tim Horton's for the troops - Pt II 
(en francais)

From the sound of this article, discussions are still on-going, although Tim's is not convinced of the value of this endeavour as yet. Keep the emails going customer_service@timhortons.com
Tim Hortons in Afghanistan
Forces want troops to have their double-doubles: Canadian icon wary of store in a war zone

Chris Wattie, National Post
Published: Saturday, January 28, 2006

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - The Canadian Forces want to raise morale among troops deployed here by setting up the furthest flung coffee and doughnut franchise in the world: Tim Hortons Afghanistan.

But the Canadian icon is balking at the idea of opening shop at Kandahar Air Field, where more than 2,000 Canadian soldiers are being deployed this month, saying it "is not part of our business model."

U.S. soldiers serving in the sprawling Kandahar base have their own Burger King, Subway and Pizza Hut franchises and, with thousands of Canadian troops heading to southern Afghanistan this month, senior Canadian officers have decided it just won't be a Canadian base without a Tim Hortons.

Frank Cley-son, director of the Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency for the Afghanistan mission, says his agency is in negotiations with the coffee chain to set up a franchise here, 10,000 kilometres and nine time zones from North America.

"It's still in discussions between (National Defence Headquarters in) Ottawa and Tim Hortons headquarters in Oakville," said Mr. Cleyson. "There hasn't been a decision yet ... (but) I understand the ball is in Tim Hortons' court right now."

Greg Skinner, a spokesman for Tim Hortons, said in an e-mail interview that he was not aware of the most recent offer by the Canadian Forces, but said the company has turned down such offers in the past.

"We are not setting up a fully functioning store," he said."We are focusing on opening in Canada and the U.S. only. We have tight controls for our product and operations and these could not be maintained in Afghanistan."

The idea of a Tim Hortons in Kandahar arose when the first Canadians arrived at Kandahar air field and were greeted by a row of U.S. fast-food franchises along a "boardwalk" near the centre of the base, Mr. Cleyson said.

"The American military has standing offers with these corporations so you'll see their franchises wherever American soldiers are deployed," he said.

And the obvious way of adding a little Canadian content to the area, popular with off-duty soldiers from the dozens of countries now deployed to Kandahar, is a Tim Hortons.

"It's the most popular coffee franchise in Canada, certainly ... and it's very popular with the troops," said Mr. Cleyson. "We have Tim Hortons on bases across Canada and they're very successful.

"The guys would be lining up if there were one here, no question. Even the Americans are getting interested in the idea."

Mr. Cleyson said the company has been a longtime supporter of the military, donating hundreds of pounds of their tinned coffee to the support agency's "Operation Santa Claus" each Christmas.

"We provide every single solitary deployed Canadian soldier with a bag of goodies," he said. "And Tims has been a faithful donor to that program."

If the corporation and the Canadian Forces agree to terms, Mr. Cleyson said a small "Tims trailer" could be in place within a couple of weeks, perhaps even days depending on how the availability of cargo space on the military flights into Kandahar.

"There's a lot of logistics involved certainly," he said, "but it wouldn't take much to get it up and running."

The 800 Canadians now in Kandahar air field have been buzzing for weeks about the prospect of being able to buy a double-double on their way to their duties.

"American coffee just isn't the same thing," said one grizzled warrant officer, making a face at his morning cup of coffee in the base's mess tent.

"I'd pay some serious coin for a good cup of Timmies."

Paul Synnott at 1:50 AM    | en francais | Go to Top|


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