DBC - "Always Fresh" by Ron Joyce

Druid’s Book Club

Quick Take: A light read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Ron Joyce turned Tim Hortons into a food service behemoth.


Longer Take:


I just finished reading “Always Fresh” by Ron Joyce and enjoyed it.


Ron Joyce is a Canadian entrepreneur who invested in the first Tim Hortons donut shop in Hamilton Ontario. This book tells his life story and details how he was able to grow Tim Hortons into one of Canada's largest foodservice businesses.


Here is a quick summary of his entrepreneurial journey:


· His father was killed in an accident when Joyce was three.

· Raised by a single mother in a tiny house with no running water or electricity.

· After leaving home at 15 he worked several low-pay high-work labour jobs.

· After a 5 year tour in the Navy Joyce joined the Hamilton police department.

· In 1958, a police officer was paid about $5,000 per year. This meant Joyce worked multiple side jobs just to get by.

· In 1963, he purchased a Dairy Queen franchise.

· In 1965, he invested in the first Tim Horton’s Do-nuts. Joyce quickly found out the business was a disaster.

· In 1967, disgusted with the poor management of the Tim Horton’s business Joyce sells his 2 stores with plans to disassociate himself with the business. Instead, Tim Horton convinced Joyce to buy half the business for $12,000 (At Tim Horton’s death in 1974, Joyce purchased the other half for $1 million).

· Fast forward… Joyce retired from the company in 2001. At his departure, there were over 2,000 Tim Hortons locations. At his death in 2019, there were over 4,500 locations.


In an autobiography, the author's views are inevitably biased, but he seemed to give a candid and open retelling of many of the challenges they faced growing Tim Hortons. But if you are looking for a bunch of business advice from this book you will be disappointed. An interesting read.



Some of My Favourite Quotes:


“The slogan “Press on” has solved, and always will help solve, the problems facing entrepreneurship”


“…all of these early stores were sold to friends and acquaintances of mine. One thing we all had in common was the desire for a better life, and we were not afraid to work hard or put in long hours to obtain it.”


“…good enough was not a standard I wanted my owners to aim for. If the company was to become the leader in the food-service industry, we had to be better than all our competition. It was never “good enough” – there was always better.”


“If you don’t make mistakes, it typically means you aren’t taking enough risks that will lead to continued success. … A culture of innovation comes hand in hand with a tolerance of failure.”


“…executives that are focused on operations tend to look for the most efficient way to offer a product, while entrepreneurs have to look inside the mind of the consumer and understand how to please them. Often, these two management styles fail to find common ground…”

Top Entrepreneurship Lesson: It doesn’t matter how low you started. Hard work, perseverance, and sticking to your values can lead to phenomenal success.



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