Tim Horton Originally Sold Hamburgers
By Nick Greene
Today, Burger King finalized an $11.4 billion deal to buy Tim Hortons, the largest fast food chain in Canada. According to the New York Times, "neither [company] is altering their franchisee agreements or business models," meaning you won't be able to buy a Whopper at one of the ubiquitous coffee and donut shops. The joint company will have "18,000 restaurants in 100 countries and $23 billion in annual revenue," but this all wouldn't have been possible had Tim Hortons stuck with its original plan: selling hamburgers.
In 1962, Jim Charade, an independent businessman who was having trouble with his own fledgling donut shops, met Tim Horton, a Defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs who sold cars in the offseason to make some extra cash (Charade bought a Pontiac from him). Charade tried to convince Horton to go into the food business, thinking that using a well-known athlete's name would be an ingenious marketing tool. The hockey player agreed, but he insisted on selling hamburgers, not donuts. According to The Globe and Mail, the two opened a string of burger joints that soon failed.
Charade convinced Tim Horton to give donuts a shot, and in 1964 the two opened the first Tim Hortons as we know it in Hamilton, Ontario. The closest Tim Hortons has come to selling burgers since then was when they test marketed a "hamburger donut" in Moncton. Maybe it's best they leave the burgers to the King.