Tim Hortons 2019 Update

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“It’s Time for Tims”

It’s been almost six years since I wrote an article about Tim Hortons, October 2013, to be precise. It was my first Stats Maps article and I was still kind of feeling my way around the whole concept.

The focus of that article was, “…  just who likes their coffee more–Canadians or Americans.” So, here’s how it worked out: “With the current population of 35 million [2013], there is one Tim Hortons coffee shop for roughly every 10,000 Canadians. The current population [2013] of the United States is 316 million, which means there is one Starbucks for roughly every 28,000 Americans. “

Let’s get back to Tim Hortons
Over the six years since that first article, Canada’s largest quick food restaurant has grown from about 3,500 to 4,246 store locations, country-wide. Based on our current population of 37,316,628, that’s one for every 8,788 Canadians. Timmies’ sensational success is no big surprise, we Canadians simply love our Timmies. Timmies is a part of Canada’s cultural identity. I mean, what Canadian walks into their place of work without a Timmie’s cup in their hand?

Tim Hortons 4,246 Store Locations in Canada

In the beginning
Tim Hortons was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, by Canadian hockey player, Tim Horton (1930-1974) and Jim Charade (1934–2009). Its original name was Tim Horton Donuts, but was later changed to Tim Horton’s and then to Tim Hortons with no apostrophe.

The first Tim Hortons franchisee
The franchisee of the first Tim Hortons was a 21-year-old Toronto bank clerk by the name of Spencer Brown. Although his restaurant was a huge hit with workers at nearby steel plants, there was no love lost between him and Charade. Brown left and went on to become a successful hotel operator.

Tim Horton died in a traffic crash in 1974 at the young age of 44.

In 1967, Horton partnered with investor Ron Joyce (1930–2019). Joyce bought out the Horton family’s shares for $1 million and took over operations after Horton’s death in 1974. He expanded the chain into a multi-billion dollar franchise. In 1991, he opened the 500th Tim Hortons store.

Joyce retired in 2001.

Tim Hortons in the US
Tim Hortons expansion into the US in 1984, in Tonawanda, New York, began with one store location and slowly grew to about a dozen stores.

Tim Hortons 681 US Store Locations

Wendy’s buys Tim Hortons
The year, 1995. The selling price? A mere US$425 million. Although Wendy’s was US-owned, the chain became a subsidiary of the Canadian holding company Restaurant Brand International.   Wendy’s ownership allowed Tim Hortons to pursue expansion opportunities in the northeastern US states while continuing to expand in Canada.

The 2000-01 Recession
Many coffee-and-doughnut shops took a hard hit during the 2000-01 recession, either faltering or failing altogether. Oddly enough, it was during this tough economic period that Tim Hortons became the largest fast-food chain in Canada. In fact, it surpassed McDonald’s sales in Canada in 2002.

Tim Hortons is repatriated
At the same time, Wendy’s was struggling and it was decided that Tim Hortons shares would have a much higher value if Tim Hortons once again became a separate public company. Wendy’s divested its Tim Hortons ownership in 2006, distributing shares to existing Wendy’s shareholders and selling off further shares to the public on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges. By 2009, the legal process was complete and the company was repatriated to Canada.

By 2009, Tim Hortons had more than 3,000
store locations in Canada and 600 in the United States.

3G Capital Purchase
Tim Hortons remained one of Canada’s most respected brands, attracting the attention of 3G Capital, a Brazilian private equity firm that owned Burger King. In October 2014, Canada’s federal competition bureau approved 3G Capital’s takeover of Tim Hortons in a $12billion deal.

Community Work
Tim Hortons restaurants are proud to help their local communities through such activities as the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation. The foundation was created in Tim Horton’s memory in 1974 by Lori Horton and Ron Joyce. Its goal is to provide children from low-income families with a camp experience.

Through its Timbits Minor Sports Program, Tim Hortons also sponsors children’s hockey, ringette, lacrosse, soccer, softball and baseball leagues.

Tim Hortons will be amping up its Roll up the Rim to Win event for next year and it will include a seamless digital integration. Hmmm…I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what’s in store for all of us Timmies lovers.

Gloria Sauvé
Communications and Marketing

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