Friday, May 07, 2004

Just ran out to get a donut and a Coke. Unfortunately I had to settle for a Chocolate Dip instead of the Old Fashioned Plain I wanted. Oh well, such things are to be expected on a late Friday night donut run.

Here in Saskatoon Robin's and Horton's are the two currently present donut chains, and Robin's is likely losing the battle. One of the Robin's outlets went out of business a few months back, while a couple of the others have changed hands, one after the previous owners defaulted on their franchise obligations. In general the Robin's stores seem to have the problem that little money is actually put into them. Several could do with a good painting and cleaning. Country Style was active here into the early '90s, but then disappeared. An attempt to get back in here a couple of years ago failed, and the store they built ended up being a Robin's. There's been some talk Krispy Kreme might set up shop here, but competing with the Horton's juggernaut, who are now owned by Wendy's, must be awfully hard.

Another chain that in my view seems to be in decline, at least in this market, is McDonalds. It seems in recent years the food quality has deteriorated somewhat. Yeah, we're not talking haute cuisine, but the other fast food places seem to be more consistent. Current McDonalds food seems limper and less tasty than it used to. The resurrection of Burger King likely didn't help. For several years there were no Burger Kings here after the franchisee had problems, but they came back with a vengence. McDonalds has been having troubles in any case in recent years, including their CEO dropping dead of a heart attack a couple of weeks ago.

Saskatoon holds a historic distinction in the Canadian fast food marketplace. Joe Young became only the second franchisee for Kentucky Fried Chicken in Canada. His El-Rancho Food Group, named after the hamburger stand he operated in the 1950s, is still active and operates numerous KFCs around Saskatchewan.

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