Society for Case Research MBAA 2020

Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Joyce A. Young, Paul W. Clark, Faye S. McIntyre

Show Me Hospitality versus Tim Hortons: A Broken Contract?

This critical incident describes a legal dilemma faced by a franchisee of six Tim Hortons restaurants in the St. Louis metro area. The franchisee, Eric Sigurdson of Show Me Hospitality, asserted the franchisor, Tim Hortons USA, attempted to force him to sign a new contract that was less favorable to him than the existing contract he signed in 2014. Mr. Sigurdson refused to accept the new contract and as a result, he believed the franchisor unjustly retaliated against him by impeding his development plan and withholding promised marketing support. As a result, he filed a lawsuit against Tim Hortons and closed two of his locations without its permission. In response, the franchisor immediately terminated his contract, forced the closure of his remaining four stores, and filed a countersuit against him. Students are asked to decide what course of action Mr. Sigurdson should take in response to the latest actions of the franchisor.