Ditching the danish, and four more ways Tim Hortons is trying to stay relevant
Tim Hortons, once Canada’s reigning coffee chain, has tumbled from its throne. Starbucks shops are everywhere, indie cafés are teaching us to expect more from our brew, and the surprisingly successful McCafe line at McDonald’s is gobbling up a chunk of the lower-end coffee market. Timmies has no choice but to reinvent itself, which is exactly what it’s proposing to do.
Earlier this month, the company’s execs unveiled an ambitious five-year rebranding plan. Taken as a whole, the plan’s overarching theme seems to be something along the lines of, “If we can’t be the best, we can at least be the most omnipresent”—which, all things considered, is a pretty clever strategy. (Conspicuously absent from the multi-part plan: any mention of just making better-tasting coffee.) Here, five ways Tim Hortons is planning to woo you back.
1. Murdering by numbers
Some would suggest that Tim Hortons has already reached its saturation point in Canada. The company begs to differ. It’s adding 800 new North American stores, 500 of which will be here, 300 in the U.S. (To put those numbers in perspective, Tim Hortons’s current Canadian shop count—a staggering 3,588—is already three times higher than Starbucks’, and ten times higher then Second Cup’s.)
2. Taking St. Louis
For some reason, the company’s U.S. expansion plans are weirdly focused on the Midwestern city. (40 of the proposed 300 new U.S. Timmies will be installed there.) We’re fairly sure there’s an insult to St. Louis in there, somewhere.
3. And the Middle East
The Persian Gulf already has 38 stand-alone Tim Hortons shops, and now it’s due to get 220 more. That means Canadians will soon have some surprising new common ground with Kuwaitis: crappy souvlaki and doughnut holes.
4. Ditching the danish
The strategy isn’t entirely a numbers game. Timmies also plans to revamp its menu by swapping out a bunch of stodgy, low-selling items for trendier new stuff, like kettle chips and green-tea slushies. Among the casualties: danishes, mixed-berry smoothies and all varieties of gingerbread men. The company has also dumped Cold Stone Creamery, having conclusively determined that few people care to cap off an average midday coffee run with 700-1200 calories of Mud Pie Mojo.
5. Targeting the grievously ill (and other captive audiences)
An important aspect of the plan is selling stuff to people who have absolutely no other options. That includes hospital-goers, old-age pensioners, office workers and people trapped inside sporting venues.