01/27/2015 03:56 EST | Updated 03/29/2015 05:59 EDT

Tim Hortons confirms layoffs at headquarters, regional offices

Tim Hortons is laying off people in its headquarters and regional offices in the wake of its merger with Burger King.

The restaurant chain, renamed in the deal as Restaurant Brands International, confirmed the layoffs in late afternoon, but did not say how many jobs were affected.

“We have had to make some difficult but necessary decisions today as we reorganize our company to position ourselves for the significant growth and opportunities ahead of us," Alexandra Cygal, vice-president of corporate affairs, said in an email statement. 

"We greatly appreciate the service and contributions of all of our employees and are treating departing employees with the utmost respect, while providing generous and enhanced severance packages, continuing health benefits and outplacement services," the statement read. 

Cygal confirmed Tim Hortons headquarters would remain in Oakville, Ont., and said the company would be "faster, more efficient and better positioned for continued success" after the layoffs.

Reports of firings at Tim Hortons' Oakville headquarters began in late morning.

An employee told Radio-Canada that staff at Tim Hortons headquarters and regional offices were called to meetings, department by department, and thanked for their service. 

In Quebec, the francophone regional marketing, design, building, translation and training departments were all being abolished.

The federal government approved the $12.5-billion purchase of Tim Hortons by 3G Capital, a Brazilian investment chain that also owns Burger King, at the beginning of December.

Two Tim Hortons executives stepped down almost immediately and former Burger King CEO Daniel Schwartz was appointed to head the merged chain.

At the time, Restaurant Brands International said it was reviewing its organizational structure looking for efficiencies. 3G Capital has a reputation for dramatically slashing budgets at its acquisitions.

Ottawa demanded the chain agree to maintain employment levels at its franchise restaurants and keep its headquarters in Oakville. Tim Hortons franchisees own most of its Canadian restaurants and layoffs would not affect restaurant staff directly.

But job protection was not extended to the more than 2,000 people at Tim Hortons headquarters, regional offices and distributions centres. 

Critics of the Tim Hortons deal had warned the chain would have to cut costs just to cover its debt financing.