Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons eyes India with 300 outlets in 10 years

Tim Hortons is making its way to India in 2022. The Canadian coffee and fast-food chain founded in Ontario will open its first outlet in New Delhi later this year, according to a March 15 press release from its parent company Restaurant Brands International. Colloquially known as Timmies in Canada, the chain is popular for its “double-double” (two creams, two sugars) coffee and doughnuts.

In the Asia-Pacific region, India will be the fourth country Tim Hortons will be entering. It already has 400 outlets in China, besides restaurants in Thailand and the Philippines.

Restaurant Brands International will partner with Dubai-based lifestyle conglomerate Apparel Group and investment company Gateway Partners for Tim Hortons’s India launch. “This launch in India is another critical step in our continuing international expansion plans,” David Shear, president of the parent company, said in the press release.

But its plans are not without problems.

Tim Hortons’s struggles

The brand has seen a marked reduction in its popularity in Canada itself, especially among millennials who seem to prefer the US-based coffee chain Starbucks over it. It has also been struggling with declining revenues in 2019 after Restaurant Brands International merged Tim Hortons with other brands under its umbrella. The pandemic also hit its biggest target audience, the morning rush-hour commuters.

But the coffee chain’s revenues, which account for over 60% of its parent company’s overall business, have bounced back close to pre-pandemic levels this year.

In India, Tim Hortons will face a challenge, once again, from Starbucks, which operates in the country as a partnership with the Tata Group, and has over 250 outlets in 26 cities in India. Other international food chains, like Burger King, Dunkin’ (earlier known as Dunkin’ Donuts), and McDonald’s have all experimented with menu localisation to tide beyond the initial buzz.

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