By Peter Saunders
Wayne Vanderhorst has plenty of history in Canadian franchising, which has prepared him for his current, multifaceted role with Second Cup. As the specialty coffee vendor’s vice-president (VP) of development, he oversees not only franchising, but also the related fields of real estate acquisition and café construction, with new strategies following the company’s conversion to a corporation at the beginning of this year.
Educated as a certified management accountant at Mohawk College and McMaster University in Hamilton, Vanderhorst began working for Dairy Queen (DQ) in 1990. After an initial year focusing on accounting, he transitioned into operations, taking a role both in helping Canadian franchisees develop their business plans and in ensuring companywide standards were enforced locally.
“I was sort of a field consultant, serving as a liaison between the franchisor and the franchisees,” he explains.
After seven years in operations, Vanderhorst became a manager and then head of franchise development for DQ, recruiting franchisees and finding locations for them. This four-year stint led him to become director of real estate.
He then moved on to a similar role at Mr. Lube, as VP of real estate. Working with the company for about two and a half years, he established a new real estate department to replace a previous initiative.
Finally, Vanderhorst joined Second Cup in 2007 as VP of franchise development. At the time, the company was already making early preparations to convert from an income trust to a corporation, given the federal government’s late-2006 announcement of new taxes on income trusts to begin in 2011.
“The company was trying to build as many units as possible back then, but wasn’t as focused as it is now,” he says. “We have to focus on specific urban regions, like Calgary and Edmonton, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ottawa and Montreal. So we’ve targeted our franchisee recruitment and real estate searches on those areas. And we’ll try to add a market every couple of years.”