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Feb 2, 2012 11:34 AM

Timothy's Coffee issues

This is my third posting for this on chowhound, maybe I need an editor?

Yesterday I had an interesting experience at Timothy’s Coffee on Eglinton Ave near Kipling. Had time to kill so I thought I have a coffee, so I made my way to Timothy’s. While waiting in line, the server spilled a coffee, so I had a minute or two and was standing in front of the dessert display case and though what the heck I’ll have something. I have been feeling rather good lately, so I placed my order and asked for a date square. I took my coffee and date square and sat by the window.

I open my date square and it was huge, I thought that it was half that size. I took a bite and I was very surprised by the lack of flavour. I eat dates almost daily; they have very good anti-inflammatory properties, and as a baker I have made date square’s many times. This date square did not taste anything like dates, nor was it overly sweet. The filling was very dark almost black in colour. For the life of me I cannot describe the flavour of this date square, it was very tasteless expect for a pasty feeling in the mouth, I suppose from the margarine in the oat/flour/brown sugar bottom and top. Bravely I tried a second bite, to make sure that it was not me, it was not me. This date square had little flavour aside from the bottom and top.

Now I had nothing to wash down the odd flavour in my mouth, the coffee was still ripping hot. Also, I just paid almost $7.00 for a coffee and dessert, and was not able to eat or drink anything. The coffee was fine after it cooled down enough to drink, but the 10-15 minutes with that strange taste in my mouth was not going to do. So I waited for the line to finish and I went up to the counter to express my concerns with what Timothy’s is passing off as a date square.

The woman that served me was standing at the counter and I said that there was a problem with the date square. A different woman answered me; I guess she was the manager or owner. I said that this does not taste anything like a date square. In a very stern and confrontational voice she assured me that indeed it was a date square. I tried to explain that not only did I not see any dates but could not taste any dates. Again with a much more stern and confrontational voice she assured me that indeed it was a date square. To which I said that I know s!%t when I taste it, and this so called date square was just that. She said that she did not need to listen to that kind of language. I agreed and left.

I am ok dealing with people that are rude, condescending and the like. However, stress is not very good for me, and as such I try to avoid stressful circumstances as much as possible, hence why I walked out. The money is an issue for me, but when I worked in restaurants or bakeries and I ever treated a customer like I was treated I would deserve to be fired on the spot. I have made many mistakes, some that the customer made me aware of, I thank them and made sure they left happy. I left in a hurry hoping that this would not trigger a relapse, and thankfully it didn’t.

The woman could have had a bad day, but she could have also treated me much differently. And of course I could have chosen my words better. I was responding to her condescending tone with me. After all who I am? I’m just the customer who pays for her business to function. If the date square remotely had a date flavour I would have been ok. I was not excepting butter and toasted oats from Scotland. But I was excepting to taste dates.

While I was driving to my meeting I remembered back when I was in cooking school. We had a health inspector come in and he told us that they would purchase veal sandwiches at different places and take them back to the lab to see if there was any veal in the sandwiches. If I recall correctly, only 20% where made with veal, the rest where something else and one had no meat at all! I don’t believe that Timothy’s date squares don’t have dates, or at least I hope, so I tried to find the ingredients for Timothy’s date squares.

Starbucks has a listing on the internet for all their food stuff and ingredients. I wish I could find such a listing for Timothy’s Coffee. I looked at Timothy’s web site and they do list what they sell and they do have nutritional info for the coffee drinks. But nothing for the baked goods, nothing for the nutritional or the ingredients is listed. So I’m not really sure what I ate with those two bites yesterday.

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  1. I'm pretty sure that each Timothy's gets their baked goods from a different supplier. I buy coffee at the one at Yonge & Finch almost every day (for my boss) and in the past had sometimes bought myself a muffin/cake treat. Until the time there was a 6" long hair wrapped up in my brownie. That was last time. I think at this particular location they are getting their stuff from someone who bakes at home, because it looks like the stuff is wrapped in saran wrap from the grocery store, and it is not "professionally" wrapped Also, there is no consistency to what they have on offer, sometimes there are danishes, etc., sometimes not. And many times their stuff is not fresh. I don't believe they get a delivery every day. (The goods come in a big cardboard box). So most likely whoever is doing their baking, is cutting corners to save some $$$

    1 Reply
    1. re: barneyvernon

      No I am fairly sure that the date squares come from one bakery for this region. Timothy's not unlike Starbucks, will at least in the same region, may use different suppliers for different products, but to keep everything consistent, they will use the same supplier for date squares for all the stores, and the same supplier for muffins and so and so on... The bakery will send their goods to a central location, and from there each store will receive what ever they ordered/require. And yes I do agree that the baker is cutting corners, but that is not necessarily the bakers fault. Timothy's wants a product at a certain cost, and this is what Timothy's went with.

    2. You probably were in fact dealing with the franchisee or owner.

      Although there is no excuse for rudeness in the service sector and if I had been treated the same way I probably would have smeared it all over the door as I left, you can't really blame her.

      Timothy's is a dying breed. That location is right next to a Second Cup and they split a very weak customer base. The poor franchisee is probably losing her shirt and Timothy's network probably doesn't support its franchisee's as well as other more prolific chains.

      I am sure she is just holding on until a Starbucks opens nearby.

      1. I knew a Second Cup franchise owner and I remember being told that one bakery supplies all three cafes for at least some of their baked goods: Starbucks, Second Cup, and Timothy's. So while these (Toronto-area) cafes may not carry the same products, at least a few of their products are supplied by the same Toronto bakery. At least that's how it was about 5 years ago so things might have changed.

        1. I was hoping that someone would commit on Timothy's date square. How the product gets from the bakery to the store is not my issue. The lack of dates in the square and the rude person who I tried to speak about this are my issues. Or am I the only person who has question the black filling in the date squares?

          1. I've never had a good pastry / snack at timothys. Much of their stuff looks super yummy sitting in the display case, but once you bite into it most of the stuff is greasy, has no flavour, and is stale.
            I've had this happen repeatedly - so now I don't bother getting any snacks there, no matter how good they look.

            2 Replies
            1. re: cubmike74

              Thank you cubmike74, I was beginning to feel alone. I understand how Mc Foods are sold all over. But I fear that this is worse than Mc Food, I could not taste or see any dates!

              I have called Timothy's head office, left my name, phone number, and why I called. I don't except Timothy's to call me back. Nor do I see Timothy's changing anything with what they are passing off as a date square. I will stay away from Timothy's from now on.

              1. re: Pastryrocks

                It's likely that the plastic wrap is done within each store, to attempt to extend the life of each pastry or baked good, which might explain the Mickey Mouse job done with the plastic wrap.

                If it's any consolation to you, many years ago (upwards of 15) my mother and I were at the Future Bakery that used to be located across the road from Delisle Court (Yonge and Heath). My mother bought a date square, took a couple of bites and promptly chomped down on an entire, intact pit. She could have broken a tooth and is very lucky she didn't. She mentioned it, not really expecting much more than an apology, but the server (definitely not an owner or manager), shrugged and showed utter indifference. Even if she'd paid lip service to us and said she'd let the baker know, it would have been something. Just showing you give a crap when a customer tries to bring a concern to your attention goes a long way. We weren't seeking a refund or replacement pastry. The whole experience soured us on the Future Bakery.

                I should add that I've bought cheese scones over the years at both the Second Cup and Timothy's and not only are they identical, they are often in the display long past the fresh stage.