Legal action is being threatened by a group representing a large group of Tim Hortons franchisees against the coffee chain’s parent company after a computer virus put cash registers offline at an unconfirmed number of stores and caused chaos.
Impacted locations were reported to have suffered store closures, lost employee wages, lost sales, and food spoilage as a direct result of the malware-infected point-of-sale terminals.
A lawyer representing the Great White North Franchisee Association (GWNFA) said there have been “significant losses as a result of the current attack” in a letter addressed to Restaurant Brands International CEO Daniel Schwartz and insists a meeting be convened no later than Friday to discuss the ongoing situation.
The parent company says they are working with an external vendor to address the virus causing cash register outages (that are reported to have started a week ago at about 100 locations), and no consumer data or credit card information has been compromised.
The crashing cash registers follow a number of other clashes between some restaurant owners, Tim Hortons and Restaurant Brands over changes to employee pay due to Ontario’s minimum wage increases, expanding menu options, and corporate cost-cutting.
This latest issue also hit the company during their very popular “Roll Up the Rim” promotion, which has had a lot of problems this year in that the company distributed a small series of misprinted cups with no rim messages in Atlantic Canada and Alberta.
GWNFA’s attorney Peter Proszanski said that while Restaurant Brands has provided franchise owners with “partial answers” regarding its efforts to minimize downtime related to the virus, a number of serious questions have not been addressed. Among those: how the outage happened, when Restaurant Brands become aware of the risk, and will hardware manufacturer Panasonic, reimburse franchisees for their losses.
“Should you refuse to meet with our clients to resolve this important problem, our clients shall unfortunately be left with no alternative but to pursue litigation,” Proszanski wrote on Monday.
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