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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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When the name “Tim Horton's” enters anyone's mind, one will either think of the popular coffee shop or the famous hockey player, both prominent features of Canadian popular culture. The focus of this paper will not be on the widely known defenseman but rather on Canada's most well known and beloved fast food franchise. The first ever Tim Hortons franchise opened its doors to the public within Hamilton, Ontario in April 1964. This widely known business was founded by Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman, Tim Hortons, alongside with his colleague who was a Montreal businessman by the name of Jim Charade. Since then, it has been reported that “Tim Hortons has become Canada's largest restaurant chain, operating 3,665 stores across the country as of 2016” (Hunter). Tim Hortons reflects how popular culture is constantly shifting within Canada (especially from the 1940's - 1970's) and the constant push for mass production and consumerism reflects how Sloanism and Fordism has affected the fast food business. Tim Hortons has impacted Canadian popular culture by displaying how donut chains are a reflection of a society in the midst of modernization. Tim Hortons has managed to integrate itself not only as a form of Canadian popular culture but as a form of Canadian identity. This famous fast food franchise is not only popularly known for their delicious coffee but rather as a unique Canadian tradition in itself. What makes Tim Horton's unique to Canada isn't their special coffee or exquisite goods but rather the memories and stories derived from a customer's experience.

As the world continues to shift after the war, Fordism and Sloanism are huge ideas derived from popular culture and play a large role in the popularization of franchises such as Tim Hortons. Fordism refers to “the system of mass production and consumption characteristic of highly developed economies during the 1940s-1960s” (Thompson). Basically, Fordism is focused on mass consumption mixed with mass production to create economic growth and material advancement. Fordism focuses on the mass production of one item rather than focusing on the production of a variety of options. Sloanism is an extension of Fordism in which a full product line is released to cover the entire market and production (giving different options to consumers instead of having only one standard product). “Sloan hoped to compete with and to overcome the Ford market advantage through the introduction of fashion or style accompanied with the annual model change and through the establishment of several lines of automobiles, as he noted for “every purse and purpose” (Meyer). In regards to Fordism, fast food chains such as Tim Hortons have high mass production rates in order to promote mass consumption for their products. The most well known items sold at Tim Hortons are their coffees and donuts therefore they created mass productions of these items to sell to consumers in order to promote market growth. As popular ways of marketing kept improving, Tim Hortons soon began following the Sloanism idea in which they offer many different products within their product line. As discussed during lecture, there is an important relationship between fast food chains and Sloanism. Tim Hortons offers a variety of coffee blends and baked goods creating an “endless variety” of foods that seem different but are actually similar (all baked goods are high in sodium and fat but plain donuts are seen as a healthier option than a frosted donut). Consumers view this as having a quick and large variety of options that relate to different customers needs and wants, leading to a larger amount of sales. Tactics such as Fordism and Sloanism are important to businesses similar to Tim Hortons since they rely on them to promote a more modernized and simpler life in which mass consumption is the main goal.

In relations to Fordism and Sloanism, the popularization of fast food chains such as Tim Hortons was one of many forms of modernization. Tim Hortons impacted popular culture by using Fordism and Sloanism in order to conveniently sell large amounts of goods in a modernizing community. When Tim Hortons was first founded, donut shops and fast food chains were seen as an innovation to popular culture. Fast food was seen as a form of modernization in which it meant convenience and fast food franchises such as Tim Hortons were the most informal and offered the fastest and handiest food options. Besides convenience, donut shops were regarded as a reflection of the changing urban environment. Modernization was taking over society and donut shops became a form of popular culture due to their goal of high efficiency production and high volume of sales (push for consumption). As Tim Hortons continued to rise, they soon became the biggest coffee/donut chain in Canada, overtaking Country Style in 1976. They were highly successful due to the large amounts of sales by using ideas such as Sloanism and because it was simple to obtain their products (convenient). This ended up leading the business to become quickly modernized and one of the leading fast food franchises in the coffee industry.

Over the years, Tim Hortons has managed to not only become Canada's largest coffee shop franchise but also a unique, prominent feature of Canada in itself. Although it is no longer owned by a Canadian corporation (currently owned by burger king), everything else about Tim Horton's still makes it distinctly Canadian. The founder Tim Horton himself not only played as a defenseman on the NHL representing the Toronto Maple Leafs but was also said to have the traits of a true Canadian. Grant McCracken, a cultural anthropologist and author claims "He was not just good at the national game but he embodies some of the best Canadian qualities, he's a stalwart, he's calm under pressure, he's fantastically gifted, but he wasn't a show off" (qtd. in Friesen). The franchise Tim Hortons isn't distinctly Canadian because it's mainly located in Canada but rather because it ties into Canadian culture and it's known as a place of familiarity to Canadians. Although there are other coffee shops in Canada, Tim Hortons is unique to itself in which it gives consumers a sense of familiarity and comfort. Kealy Wharram, a Toronto realtor claims that Tim Hortons is something she “identifies with her childhood and with that great Canadian tradition” (qtd. in Friesen). The products that are sold within Tim Hortons not only reminds you of Canadian features (such as their coffee named double-double) but also of cherished childhood memories. It is unique because it not only provides foods and drinks but also a sense of security and nostalgia. Tim Hortons (as an athlete) displayed characteristics of an ideal Canadian and his passion and pride for Canada has integrated itself into the comforting coffee shop all Canadians know and love today, making Tim Hortons truly Canadian and equally as unique.

Tim Hortons is a coffee/donut shop known internationally but a specialty to those who are Canadian. By using broad ideas such as Fordism and Sloanism, this franchise has successfully impacted popular culture by succeeding in a modernizing society. From the founder of the franchise to the coffee they serve, Tim Hortons mainly encompasses itself with Canadian traits making it distinctly Canadian. Tim Hortons provides not only quality coffee and food but also memories of one's childhood in Canada, making it not just a place for food but a unique and special place in every Canadians heart.

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