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U.S. chains in Canada (split from Ontario board)

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I hope Five Guys doesn't go the way of Krispy Kreme, because the similarities are scary. One lame-duck location in Mississauga. One-trick pony (burgers and not much else). Proven formula that worked in the USA but untested in this country. And unfortunately, an attitude of "protectionism"/"xenophobia" in this country where people will support crappy local product (Tim Hortons, Harveys, Pizza Pizza etc) over superior American product (Krispy Kreme, Five Guys, Papa John's, etc).

I wouldn't knock their stripped-down menu -- it's the same in the USA and obviously it's worked well for them. One casualty of their success is Fuddruckers (which has a lot more menu items/options) which went into Chapter 11:

http://www.cheese-burger.net/stories/...

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  1. I guess Fuddruckers will survive in Buffalo until Five Guys decides to open a restaurant there too.

    4 Replies
    1. re: callitasicit

      Exactly. They're already in Rochester and now Mississauga so they're moving in.... I am surprised they came here before Buffalo though.

      1. re: TexSquared

        I hope they don't come to Buffalo as I really enjoy grabbing a burger from Fudd's when I am visiting there. Not sure how good Five Guys is but I heard Fuddrucker's makes a better burger.

      2. re: callitasicit

        I will be shocked if 5 Guys causes the demise of Fudd. They're not even close. Fudd is a nice big beefy juicy patty while 5 Guys is overcooked and underseasoned. Way more options (ostrich burger!).

        1. re: sbug206

          Not saying that Five Guys opening in the same city will necessarily lead to Fudd's closing up. I was mildly (admittedly weakly) referring to this article which specifically names Five Guys as one of the competitors that have hurt them:

          http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedconte...

          I can see why FG is doing better than Fudd -- Fudd's locations have a lot of overhead (larger stores, expanded burger options, and having to carry that huge toppings/salad bar as well as desserts and alcohol) when compared to the no-frills, simplified approach of FG.

      3. I don't think it's protectionism that leads to failure of American chains but a difference in taste preferences. I absolutely cannot eat a Krispy Kreme donut because it is way way way too sweet. When the Mississauga location opened I lined up for 2 hours to purchase 2 dozen donuts and pretty much didn't return because of the excessive sweetness of their donuts. I think I also ended up giving them away after biting into one. I'm not even that fond of Tim's donuts but at least it doesn't taste like I'm eating a bag of sugar. My favorite donuts are polish donuts from a mom and pop bakery.....fried bread with jam in the middle....YUMMERS!

        21 Replies
        1. re: normanwolf

          "I don't think it's protectionism that leads to failure of American chains."

          I distinctly remember an outcry of "Krispy Kreme sucks, we have Tim Horton's!" when KK first announced they were coming to Canada (hadn't even opened yet!). This from people who had never tried them before.

          Similar outcry when Starbucks, Ruth's Chris, and Walmart came north. Not that any of those three failed but it's the same culture/attitude of protectionism that they had to face on arrival.

          -----
          Ruth's Chris
          77 City Centre Dr., Mississauga, ON L5B 1M5, CA

          1. re: TexSquared

            Krispy Kreme does suck and I have tried it, like I said their donuts are way too sweet. I don't remember any outcries about Krispy Kreme coming north.....as a matter of fact I went to try Krispy Kreme because a colleague at work raved about how wonderful their donuts were. To be honest I don't remember any outcries except for Walmart and those had to do more with their business practices than because they're American.

            1. re: normanwolf

              KK original cream hot off the belt DO NOT SUCK. They may be too sweet for you but suck they do not.

              I didn't think the rest of their donuts were as good as Uncle Timmies though.

              DT

              1. re: Davwud

                "I didn't think the rest of their donuts were as good as Uncle Timmies though."

                Sorry, previously frozen donuts (TH) are automatically disqualified from consideration in my book. If you're going to knock burger joints for using previously frozen patties then be consistent and knock TH for doing same with donuts.

                1. re: TexSquared

                  I also enjoy KK much more than TH when it comes to their doughnuts. I don't really understand the KK bashing, their doughnuts are fresh not frozen. I will say that one should never order a dozen of their doughnuts unless sharing with family or friends.

                  1. re: TexSquared

                    Neither are all that great.

                    I don't "Disqualify" places from using frozen patties. They'll never be the best but even I will use good quality ones from time to time. Especially the frozen Kirkland sirloin burgers. 100% sirloin. Nothing else. A little seasoning on them and on to the grill. Good eatin'.

                    DT

                2. re: normanwolf

                  Krispy Kreme does not suck, they're actual donuts unlike the frozen junk you prefer at Tim Horton's. Give me a break. Maybe you have no 'sweet tooth' but at least its a true donut, which you seem to have completely forgotten and omitted. Their apple fritters are great by the way (at KK)

                  1. re: duckdown

                    We'll have to agree to disagree cause if a place puts out food that isn't edible (in Krispy Kreme's case too sweet) then IMO it sucks. There is NO WAY I'm paying for food I wouldn't eat. You are entitled to your opinion but that doesn't make mine less valid. Taste is a very personal thing and I started it off by saying taste preferences differ. And to be very clear, Tim's is only passable for the fact that I don't want to gag because of the sweetness.....I don't think they're all that great either.

                    As far as the true donut part goes, if something isn't edible then authenticity doesn't matter to me.

                    If you're wondering, the perfect sweetness can be found in tofu fa. =) *DROOL* This thread is making me crave dessert....time for an orange!

                    1. re: duckdown

                      If a place puts out food that isn't edible (in Krispy Kreme's case too sweet) then IMO it sucks. There is NO way I'm paying money for food that I wouldn't eat. You are entitled to your opinion but that doesn't make mine any less valid. Taste is a very personal thing and as I stated earlier taste preferences differ. Frozen junk or not Tim's is less sweet which makes it edible....not good.....just edible. If the stars align properly I might even eat one of Tim's donuts..... As far as the true donut part, for me, it doesn't matter if a donut is authenitic if it isn't edible. Who's going to pay for true XYZ food if they can't eat it? Certainly not me.

                      1. re: normanwolf

                        So something can't be good but just not your cup of tea as it were??
                        If you don't like it then you've determined that it's no good.

                        DT

                        1. re: Davwud

                          For all the people who came in late here's the quick recap: Tex claims that American chains don't do well in Canada because of protectionist/xenophobic attitudes. I disagreed and said it's probably a difference in taste preference. I used my personal experience with Krispy Kreme as an example of why I don't purchase donuts there and that as far as my memory goes when Krispy Kreme came to Mississauga people were raving about how good their donuts were and I even stood in line for 2 hours to buy 2 dozen donuts. They were definitely not to my liking. I'd hardly call that protectionist or xenophobic. I still don't remember any hand wringing about poor Canadian chains.

                          Tex then said, "Krispy Kreme sucks, we have Tim Hortons......from people who have never tried Krispy Kreme." First of all, if he'd read my previous message, he'd have realized I tried them and found them to be lacking. I see nothing wrong with reiterating that I did in fact try them and I paraphrased my "too sweet" to his word of "sucks". Like what's the big deal that I don't like them? I don't try to force my food choices on you.

                          1. re: normanwolf

                            I don't care whether you like them or not. It's not for me to decide what you like and what you don't like. I have the argument with my dad all the time. If he doesn't like something, it sucks. To me, if something sucks then there's something wrong with it. Not just that it doesn't suit your taste. So saying it sucks is misleading. If you claim a piece of pizza sucks it could mean anything from being undercooked, over sauced/cheesed or just a bad combination of toppings. If you say you don't like it then I can take it with a grain of salt and maybe try for myself. If you say it sucks then I can gather that maybe it was undercooked or burnt or whatever poor execution.

                            Anyway I guess we're arguing semantics here.

                            DT

                            1. re: Davwud

                              LOL....should've guessed the problem was with the word sucks.....sorry, I looked it up in the dictionary when Tex wrote it and it appeared to have a close enough meaning to what I was saying. I was using it as a verb with the meaning displeasing. (googled "sucks slang", first link). Glad we cleared that up. =) I hate people telling me what I should or shouldn't like.

                              1. re: normanwolf

                                It's not for me to decide what you like.

                                DT

                    2. re: normanwolf

                      "To be honest I don't remember any outcries except for Walmart and those had to do more with their business practices than because they're American."

                      You forgot the outcries when Starbucks came here? Wow, short memory... "Poor Second Cup... poor Timothy's World Coffee..." During the height of their Canadian expansion, Starbucks opened close to as many SC's as they could to try to snuff them out. In Downtown Toronto, where you saw a SC there was a SB on the same block somewhere. 20 years later, SC is still standing despite the strategy. So I call that a failure by SB.

                      Krispy Kreme Hot Original Glazed beats all of the "never fresh" previously-frozen crap put out by TH. That is not up for debate. Otherwise you should tell us that Lick's (which uses frozen patties) puts out better burgers than Burger's Priest (always fresh never frozen).

                      1. re: TexSquared

                        So Licks uses frozen patties, I thought their burgers were fresh? I know that they sell their product frozen in retail stores but that is very disappointing.

                        When I was a teenager, I used to go downtown specifically for a Licks burger and they were sooo good. I am convinced that they weren't frozen back then. I want to try Five Guys because they don't have a microwave or a freezer in their facilities.

                        1. re: callitasicit

                          DISCLAIMER>>>I do franchise compliance quality shops for 5 Guys, but am not employed by them.
                          "I want to try Five Guys because they don't have a microwave or a freezer in their facilities." This is a myth. Five Guys only uses fresh never frozen ground beef and fresh potatoes for fries. Howevr some franchisees do have freezers and do freeze hot dogs. This causes the hot dogs to be saltier in some locations than others.

                        2. re: TexSquared

                          If you think second cup is doing better than Starbucks you might want to take a second look. The opposition to Starbucks had nothing to do with the fact it was an American chain. It had to do with their aggressive expansion strategy and the perceived gentrification of neighbourhoods. The same reaction would ave occurred had a Canadian company adopted the same business model.

                          1. re: jamesm

                            If I sounded like I was suggesting SC was doing better than SB, I apologize, that was not my intention at all. My point was, by their strategy SB was trying to bury SC, put them out of business (either shut them down or force SC to sell their locations to them). They clearly failed in that mission.

                            "The same reaction would have occurred had a Canadian company adopted the same business model."

                            They don't seem to hold Tim Horton's to the same rules. Expand everywhere, bad traffic and exhaust emissions thanks to the drive-thrus, Tim's cups littering every street.... Goes back to what I've been saying, TH is a master of brainwashing.

                            1. re: TexSquared

                              Tim Hortons went to suburbs and off the highway for commuters. Tim Hortons and Starucks took different approaches. The success and failure of either has nothing to do with xenophobia which was kind of the real point.

                              I'm not sure what the distinction is between brainwashing and sucessfully marketing your business though.

                        3. re: normanwolf

                          There were no outcries. There was hype, PR and excitement. I remember people being ecstatic that they were coming to Canada. The xenophobia claims are ridiculous.

                    3. There's no xenophobia. The Krispy Kreme opening had tons of hype, publicity and excitement. When the location opened there were line-ups. If someone brought them into the office it was an event. Their failure had nothing to do with xenophobia. That's ridiculous.

                      And if there's protectionism can you possibly explain all the American chains that have done very well in Canada?

                      Maybe if they wanted to succeed they'd pick a better location than a 'lame-duck' spot in Missasauga.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: jamesm

                        "And if there's protectionism can you possibly explain all the American chains that have done very well in Canada?"

                        Rather than extend the off-topic streak of this thread I'll just direct you to another thread (in Chains) where I list some of the failed/failing U.S. chains. The originals (McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King, KFC) have done OK, but the more recent invaders have not:

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7592...

                        1. re: TexSquared

                          BTW>>>
                          Both Tim Hortons and Krispy Kreme FAILED here in Connecticut. Doesn;t matter if the bad product is American or Canadian.

                          1. re: bagelman01

                            Yeah, they ran into the juggernaut known as Dunkin Donuts! (which is New England's answer to Tim Horton's -- masters of brainwashing)