Tim Hortons is Canada's biggest restaurant brand, beating both McDonald's and Starbucks into second place in their respective sectors. By the end of 2019, there were more than 4,250 restaurants and kiosks across Canada, providing blanket coverage equivalent to around one outlet for every 9,000 Canadians. (McDonald's, by comparison, has less than half that penetration in the US). However the greatest concentration of stores is on the Eastern seaboard of the country in Ontario and Quebec. Tim's also has a collection of around 700 stores in the US, mostly situated within driving distance of the Canadian border, and a small number of outlets in other countries. Systemwide sales were $6.7bn in 2019, down slightly year-on-year. Known to its customers as Tim's or Timmies, it is widely regarded as a national icon. A 2007 survey found that 40% of Canadians under 35 consider the chain's Timbits bite-size mini-doughnuts to be a national symbol of Canada and Tim's "Double Double" coffee serving (meaning double-cream, double-sugar) is such a familiar phrase it's even included in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. The chain also sells packaged ground coffee for home use. The group has gradually expanded its food range beyond donuts and coffee, adding muffins, bagels, soups and sandwiches. In 2014, Tim Hortons agreed to be acquired by US rival Burger King for around $11bn. The deal completed at the end of 2014 with the creation of new parent group Restaurant Brands International. Axel Schwan is now global president of Tims. The business was founded in 1964 by Tim Horton, a former pro ice hockey star for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Retired policeman Ron Joyce became his business partner three years later and the chain expanded steadily. However, tragically, Horton was killed in a car accident in 1974. Joyce soldiered on as sole owner, eventually establishing the chain as Canada's leading breakfast venue.
Capsule checked 2nd September 2020
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Historical profile information for Tim Hortons
Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Mar 2018: "Coffee with Neighbours". How well do you know *your* neighbour? For Canada's leading coffee shop chain Tim Hortons, agency Zulu Alpha Kilo invited random householders to come have a coffee with a neighbour they'd never met before. Inevitably, it's all a bit awkward to start with, but then everyone ends up being the best of pals. That's a big positive, especially in a neighbourhood like this one where everyone comes from different racial or national backgrounds. It's a sweet, and commendable, idea. We should all try it.
Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Aug 2014: Burger King and leading Canadian quick serve chain Tim Hortons are to merge to create a substantial foodservice operation with combined systemwide sales of around $23bn. Burger King will acquire its Canadian rival for around $11.4bn and plans to transfer its fiscal base to Tim's home country of Canada. The deal requires regulatory approval in Canada, but the move makes sense, even without the tax benefits of inversion. Despite Burger King's wider global footprint, Tim's is actually the bigger by far of the two businesses, with revenues of around $3bn in 2013 to Burger King's $1.1bn. (Burger King's lower revenues are the result of the fact that almost all its 13,000-plus outlets are now owned and operated by franchisees). Though little-known outside North America, Tim Hortons is Canada's biggest quick serve chain by a considerable margin, well ahead of better-known US rivals McDonald's and Subway. Burger King CEO Daniel Schwartz told the media "Our phones are already ringing off the hook to take this great brand [Hortons] around the world." According to some reports, Burger King envisions turning itself into a multi-chain conglomerate along similar lines to Yum Brands, owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. That plan has the backing of billionaire investor Warren Buffett who is said to be supplying around $3bn of cash to finance the deal in return for preference shares. Burger King's current controlling shareholder, private equity firm 3G Capital, will retain a majority stake in the merged group of 51% compared to its current 70%. Investors generally welcomed the announcement, causing an immediate 20% jump in both groups' share prices.
Adbrands Weekly Update 1st May 2014: Peter Nowlan, currently chief commercial officer of brewer Molson Coors is moving to local restaurant icon Tim Hortons, to replace long-serving CMO Bill Moir, who will retire this summer. Scott Cooper succeeds Nowlan at Molson Coors.
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