News that the Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons was expanding into the UK generated considerable attention in the media (see here, here, and here). Little attention was paid to the fact that they company opted for a joint venture entry mode and the financial press paid even less attention to who the firm’s local partners were going to be. Perhaps that’s because the parent company of Tim Horton’s, Restaurant Brands International of Oakville, Ontario said very little about the UK partners in its press release, referring simply “to the establishment of a master franchise joint venture with an investor in Great Britain.” The financial press reported that the CEO of the new master franchise was named Gurprit Dhaliwal but said nothing about this individual, which I found rather curious. Or rather, I was struck by how incurious the business journalists who reported this story were. Nobody bothered to learn anything about either Mr. Dhaliwal or the investors using publicly available data. To be frank, this oversight doesn’t speak well of the quality of Canadian business journalism.
In a spare moment, I decided to do a bit of digging myself. The first thing to point out is that the RBI’s UK business partner does not appear to have anything to do with Tim Hortons Ltd, a property company in Leeds that coincidentally shares a name with the Canadian coffee chain. Tim Hortons UK & Ireland, which was registered in September 2016, has its registered office in Egham, an affluent community in Surrey, that is near London and Heathrow. There are two current directors, Gurprit Dhaliwal of Wolverhampton, West Midlands (born 1982) and Surinder Singh Kandola of Egham (born 1965). TH UK & IRELAND LTD was established in July 2016. I’ve posted the details of the registered officer below:
Anyway, I’m posting this information here in the hopes that it sparks the interest of some journalist in Canada or the UK. It seems to me that the story of this brand’s entry in the UK has a number of interesting angles that would make for a good piece in a business magazine. The fact that a disproportionate number of the individuals involved are from one faith community is very interesting to me as it speaks to the importance of diaspora networks of entrepreneurs, a pattern that is well documented in the academic literature. I know a number of academic researchers in the fields of international management who would be very interested in meeting and interviewing some of the people involved although we all understand that ground rules would need to be established before any research began.