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1995: U.S. burger giant buys Tim Hortons doughnut chain

The Story


On Aug. 8, 1995, American fast food chain Wendy's buys Canada's number-one doughnut chain, Tim Hortons, for $400 million Cdn (not $580 million as heard in the clip). The friendly merger had been anticipated ever since a Wendy's and a Tim Hortons franchise set up shop under one roof in Montague, P.E.I., in 1992. The unlikely marriage was the brainchild of Danny Murphy, referred to as one of P.E.I.'s fast food kingpins in this radio report. It was at the Montague "combo store" opening that the two owners, Dave Thomas of Wendy's and Ron Joyce of Tim Hortons, first met. The two men would go on to become good friends.

Medium: Radio
Program: The Ten O'Clock News
Broadcast Date: Aug. 10, 1995
Guest: Danny Murphy
Reporter: Kathy Large
Duration: 2:10
Photo: erin watson photography at Flickr Creative Commons

Did You know?


• The first Tim Hortons coffee and doughnut shop opened in Hamilton, Ont., in 1964. The business was founded and named after Tim Horton, a hockey player with the National Hockey League from 1949 until his death in a car accident in 1974.

• Ron Joyce, a former Hamilton police constable who became Horton's partner in 1967, took over after Horton's death. Joyce bought out the Horton family to become the sole owner of Tim Hortons.


• Tim Hortons is currently the largest coffee and doughnut chain in Canada with more than 2,600 shops. Tim Hortons is the largest fast food operator in Canada, with double the number of outlets of Macdonald's. There are more than 300 Tim Hortons in the U.S. and one in Kandahar, serving Canadian troops in Afghanistan (July 2006).

• In late 2005, Wendy's began selling shares in Tim Hortons operations. This was completed in March 2006. Wendy's said the move was a result of increasing competition between the two chains, as well as the increasing self-sufficiency of Tim Hortons (its profitability didn't hurt, either.)

• In June 2009 Tim Hortons announced it was changing its registration to become a Canadian company. Hoping to take advantage of more favourable tax rates in Canada, the company filed a plan with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to become a subsidiary of a firm incorporated in Canada.

• Wendy's was founded by Dave Thomas and Robert Barney in 1969. It is named after Thomas's then eight-year-old daughter, Melinda, whose nickname was Wendy.

• The first Wendy's restaurant opened on Nov. 15, 1969, in Columbus, Ohio. The group quickly grew to over 3,000 stores by 1985. In 1989, Wendy's founder Thomas came out of retirement to make commercials for Wendy's and successfully rebuild the struggling franchise. Dave Thomas died on Jan. 8, 2002.

• In August 2014, the company which owns U.S. fast-food company Burger King bought Tim Hortons, with the plan to merge the burger chain and donut chain, with the headquarters for the new merger expected to be in Oakville, Ont., the current head office for Tim Hortons.


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