Food & Drink

Toronto Star column about Tim Horton's failures

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[OP]
Penalty Box
Feb 22, 2016
4357 posts
3883 upvotes

Toronto Star column about Tim Horton's failures

Wow, business columnist David Olive must read RFD! (Hi Dave!) Take a look at this column from Saturday September 5:

https://www.pressreader.com/canada/toro ... 4091951525

TL;DR version: Tim's is the weakest link in RBI's chain. To turn things around they need to: Trim the menu, respect its customers, do a better job releasing new products (they flop way too often, right @death_hawk ?), cut the number of stores, and quit trying to expand to Asia and Europe (where they're going to fail anyway) and instead work on Canada and USA where they might have a chance.

We've been saying those things for years here on RFD!
Friendly reminder #1: The Golden Arches fast food chain is McDonald's, not MacDonald's. Thank you for your attention.
Friendly reminder #2: Price matching is NOT the law. Never was, never will be. Nobody can stop you from shopping elsewhere.
66 replies
Deal Expert
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May 10, 2005
35464 posts
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Ottawa
Never been a fan of Tims but do go to get Timbits and donuts.
Tims seemed to have been more interested in selling franchises than upping their game. The competition for coffee is huge. Many places selling coffee nowadays that Tim's is losing out to them. Not just Starbucks or Second Cups but plethora of independent boutique shoppes.
I did a lot of traveling across Canada and found that in small towns and cities, Tims is the place to go but, in larger communities, Tims is losing ground to, of all places, MacDonald's.
Tim's success was coffee and donuts...it should get back there.
The Government cannot give to anybody anything that the Government does not first take from somebody else.
Sr. Member
Oct 24, 2010
877 posts
664 upvotes
Ottawa
Yup.

I used to like Tim's coffee.

Now, I prefer coffee almost anywhere else. I'll actually skip a coffee entirely before buying from Tim's.

At the same price point as Tim's, McDonald's is superior; and I hate McDonald's for everything except Egg McMuffins, coffee, and dollar drink days.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
27311 posts
12961 upvotes
Sit back, relax, and curl up with a good post. Here's a novel. for ya'll.
I also want test the character limit of RFD Face With Tears Of Joy

EastGTARedFlagger wrote: And RBI has wisely treated Popeyes, acquired just three years ago, as a startup, though it was founded in 1972. RBI has used must-have new menu items and savvy marketing to quickly lift Popeyes from also-ran status to a credible threat to KFC.
The funny thing is.... they're trying the same thing with Tim's. Literally exactly this.
And while I think Popeyes is meh (Good thing downvotes aren't a thing on posts) at least they have some sort of kitchen to actually *GASP* cook these new menu items.
Compared to Tim's which has to make do with whatever stupid idea comes from corporate on the equipment they have in house that is basically meant to reheat. They're hampered by equipment.

RBI has invested heavily in Tims, as well. A costly RBI renovation campaign over the past two years has given Tims stores a more neighbourly feel, with banquettes and lounges that strengthen Tims’ image as a community gathering place.
I've always said that I don't care what the place looks like (as long as it's clean). I'm here to eat/drink/whatever.
Now... I know I'm not the norm. Looks appeal to most people. They won't go to a dive just because the food is good.
I just don't understand the logic of why I would patronize a place that's pretty but has terrible food/drink/whatever.
Trim the menu A Tims strategy for boosting sales has been to load the menu with more items, upward of 100 at present. But that overtaxes staff, which keeps customers waiting.
Even if the staff could handle it, the asinine ideas that come from HQ can basically only be reheated.
More and more people are wanting better quality food even out of QSR. McDonalds even figured this out.
RBI would do well to count the number of impatient would-be customers who leave Tims empty-handed.
While I don't hang around Tim's counting people, do people actually leave empty handed? I've seen lineups spill into streets blocking traffic. I don't think people mind waiting.
Tims would benefit from a disciplined menu of just 20 or so must-have items. Time-consuming sandwich prep would be scrapped, replaced with three or four prepared sandwiches, in which Starbucks Corp. does a lucrative business.
While I agree with cutting the menu, I don't think moving to the Starbucks model of 3-4 prepared sandwiches is going to be better. If anything I think it'll be worse.
While still not very good, the only saving grace is that it's assembled to order so you can at least customize what's in your sandwich. You can't do this with a preprepared sandwich.
This would be like Subway moving to having a prepacked sandwich.
Know your customers Tims has arguably botched its Roll Up the Rim to Win customer-rewards program, one of the oldest and most popular in Canada, with changes it made this year.
As much as I shit on (and am currently shitting on) Tim's, I don't blame them for this one.
Sure it sucks to ditch the cups, but they were screwed either way. Use cups and they're not environmentally friendly. Don't use cups and people complain about not having the experience.
They were stuck between a rock and a hard place.
If it were me, I'd probably run both to ease transition. Give out cups and have an online bonus.
Or to keep the "nostalgia" factor have pull (roll?) tabs.

Side note: If Tim's has roll tabs next year, you saw it here first. I want compensation.
cutting the prize pool by more than half, to roughly $30 million in retail value.
Okay maybe I will shit on them for this.
And Tims has ignored customers who have repeatedly asked for express lanes for coffee-only purchasers
If McDonalds ever does this, Tim's is sunk.
Also don't they do this? I could swear I've seen dual lines before.
have complained about coffee cups that still leak.
This can't be true can it?
Revamped new-product development Blockbuster new products like Tims Ice Capp don’t come easily to Tim Hortons
(From another thread) they apparently did clean up their recipe.
About time since the original recipe was a dumpster fire. I was actually mildly impressed with the new recipe.
which suffers a high rate of new-product flops. They include faux meat items (withdrawn), gourmet Dream doughnuts (most have been cancelled) and Oreo ice capps (time-consuming to prepare and a drag on sales).
*GASP*
You know what we want? A quality product. Quit trying to make new shit stick when you have no ability to do it.
The smart thing to do is quit rolling out new products until you fix your existing products.
Also oreo ice caps were hard to make? I never watched the process, but I would imagine it's just tossing oreos into the cup.
Better to focus on coming up with a breakfast sandwich that tastes like it’s made with real eggs and cheese, as McDonald’s Egg McMuffins do.
"Tastes like it's made with real egg"
What a concept eh?
I actually laughed at the new commercial about their improved breakfast sandwich.
"Better bacon, fluffier biscuits, same shit egg carpets"
The problem is that they have no facilities to cook eggs to order. And if you think oreo ice caps are a pain, try getting a fresh egg in a facility that has no way to cook an egg.
RBI has cited a pandemic-caused drop in Tims’ all-important breakfast trade as a culprit in Tims’ underperformance. And that is a factor. But so is an unappealing breakfast menu.
I'd love to see how McDonalds did during breakfast in the pandemic.
Quick googling says a 22% drop during the pandemic overall, but for the purposes of this, I'm more curious about breakfast alone.
Popeyes went up by 25?% according to this article.
Too many stores In overstored downtown Toronto, a plethora of Tims locations are fighting for the same limited amount of business.
While I don't disagree with this generally speaking, Tim's (historically) and Starbucks (currently) buck this trend.
I think it helps that there's A LOT of coffee/snack customers relative to someone that wants a meal.
Not that this has ever stopped Subway from giving a franchise to someone that wants to put up a Subway next to a Subway.....
The tried-and-true success formula in retailing is fewer stores, each selling more goods per square foot.
Pandemic aside, I'm fairly certain Starbucks is doing this just fine. Obviously if you CAN do it with fewer stores it makes sense since running a store costs money.
But I'm not sure this is the formula for success. If anything, due to the high profile locations, if you start killing stores, a competitor may pick up that very valuable spot and make things FAR worse.
Appealing seasonal specials help boost sales and get first-time customers into the store.
Back to the point above, I (may as well be a first time customer) am not setting foot inside your shop until your quality improves. There's too many other places that have better things.
If you lower your pricing enough I may do it because I do have a price/quality threshold, but it has to be pretty damn low for me to put up with crap.
Too many countries RBI might want to rethink its “solution” to slowing Tim sales in opening a scattering of stores in China, Singapore, the U.K. and elsewhere. Odds of success there are low.
Yeah... if you had a good product foundation? You'd do well. Or maybe a niche that works elsewhere.
Nostalgia only goes so far. I don't think other countries are gonna put up with garbage products either, especially when there's no nostalgia factor driving it.
Another option for RBI, of course, is to spin off Tim Hortons altogether.

Before it was absorbed by RBI in 2014, Tim Hortons was an independent company that had to get by on its own wits. And it did so brilliantly, its stock outperforming that of Facebook Inc., Apple Inc., Google Inc. and the stock market’s other highest flyers in the decade before its takeover by RBI.

That might be the best option, if Timmies is to remain among Canada’s favourite restaurants.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. There's no reason RBI can't fix this. They're doing so with Popeyes and BK according to the financials.
Spinning off won't do any good if they don't change their core principles. Go back to making quality donuts. Quit making random shit stick to the wall. Make a soup where you don't just add water.
Cook a damn egg.
But the problem with my ideas is the same as their ideas: There's nowhere to actually DO them. So unless they want to revamp the entire production chain, this is basically a pipe dream.

Still... there's no reason you can't put quality into your prepack stuff. I rip on restaurants in regard to soup a lot, but Campbells Frozen (depending on version) doesn't taste that bad (ie it's probably good to most people) but requires no actual cooking. I only really shit on Campbells because no restaurant should be using it because they should be making a soup. But a QSR like Tim's that has no ingredients for soup on hand, frozen soups make sense. They have nothing to recycle into soup.
They could easily centrally produce a quality soup with real ingredients and freeze it, but for some reason decided to cut every corner in the book and make a powdered soup.

Speaking 100% objectively, here's a list of commercially available soups and Tim's.
Without naming which company makes what, which of these soups would you pay money for?

1)
CHICKEN BROTH, CARROTS, SEASONED CHICKEN (CONTAINS SOY), EGG NOODLES, CELERY, ONIONS, SALT, MODIFIED CORN STARCH,YEAST EXTRACT, CHICKEN FAT, GARLIC, GARLIC POWDER, ONION POWDER, DRIED PARSLEY, FLAVOUR,SPICES, BETA CAROTENE.

2)
CHICKEN BROTH, SEASONED CHICKEN (CHICKEN, WATER, MODIFIEDCORN STARCH, SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SALT, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, FLAVOUR), EGG NOODLES, CELERY, CARROTS, REHYDRATED ONIONS, SALT, CHICKEN FAT, SUGAR,YEAST EXTRACT (BARLEY), BEEF GELATIN, SPICE EXTRACTS, DRIED PARSLEY, SOY LECITHIN, TURMERIC EXTRACT, FLAVOUR.


(Side note: Beef gelatin? I'm surprised)

3)
CHICKEN BROTH, EGG NOODLES, SEASONED CHICKEN (CHICKEN, WATER, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, SALT, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, FLAVOUR), MECHANICALLY SEPARATED CHICKEN, CARROTS, CELERY, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, REHYDRATED ONIONS, SALT, YEAST EXTRACT (BARLEY), BROCCOLI, SUGAR, SPICE EXTRACTS,CHICKEN FAT, VINEGAR, DRIED PARSLEY, TURMERIC EXTRACT, FLAVOUR (CONTAINS GARLIC).


4)

pasta, maltodextrin, dehydrated vegetables (carrots, onions, celery), corn starch, freeze-dried cooked chicken, modified corn starch, hydrolyzed soy and corn protein, sea salt, chicken fat, yeast extract, potassium chloride, flavour, disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, spice, salt, citric acid, silicon dioxide.


5)

Pasta shells, corn maltodextrin, dehydrated vegetables (carrots, green peas, onions, red bell peppers), corn starch, freeze-dried cooked chicken, salt, chicken fat, hydrolyzed corn protein, potassium chloride, parmesan cheese style blend (modified milk ingredients, salt, lipase, calcium chloride, bacterial culture, microbial enzymes, cellulose, sorbic acid, colour), modified palm oil, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, dehydrated parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, citric acid, turmeric, sunflower oil, flavour (soy, celery).


I know which one I'm picking. Conveniently they're in order of what I'd pick.
Which is which? There's a list of spoilers later on.


Here's a thai chicken soup:


1)
CHICKEN BROTH, CREAM, SEASONED CHICKEN, RICE, MUSHROOM (BUTTON AND PORTOBELLO), RED AND GREEN BELL PEPPERS, CANOLA AND/OR SOYBEAN OIL, DICED TOMATOES, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, SALT, WHEAT FLOUR, SUGAR, TOMATO PASTE, WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE, YEAST EXTRACT (BARLEY), BEEF GELATIN, BASIL, CILANTRO, GARLIC PURÉE, SOY SAUCE, MALT VINEGAR, DRIED GARLIC, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, ONION POWDER,SPICE EXTRACTS (CONTAIN CELERY), SPICE, FLAVOURS, PAPRIKA EXTRACT.

2)
Cream, chicken broth, rice, seasoned chicken, red peppers, mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, modified corn starch, skim milk powder, diced tomatoes, chicken fat, canola oil, tomato paste, garlic, modified tapioca starch, salt, worcestershire sauce, malt vinegar, wheat flour, sugar, flavour, cilantro, basil, soy sauce, seasoning (hydrolyzed protein [wheat, corn, soy], yeast extract, flavour [cod], disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate), soy protein isolate, soy lecithin.


Again in order of what I'd pick. Spoilers below.

And a chili:

1)
Beef, water, tomatoes, red kidney beans, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, tomato paste, celery, corn starch, beef fat, textured soy protein, salt, sugar, monoglycerides, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, seasoning (contains hydrolyzed soy protein, yeast extract), spices.

2)
BEEF BROTH, DICED TOMATOES, SEASONED BEEF, TOMATO PASTE, KIDNEY BEANS, ONIONS, JALAPENO PEPPERS, GREEN PEPPERS, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, CAYENNE PEPPER SAUCE, GARLIC, CHIPOTLE ADOBO PUREE, DEHYDRATED GARLIC, SALT, SPICES .



Chicken soup:

1) https://www.campbellsfoodservice.ca/pro ... ith-herbs/
2) https://www.campbellsfoodservice.ca/pro ... en-noodle/
3) https://www.campbellsfoodservice.ca/pro ... en-noodle/
4) https://www.campbellsfoodservice.ca/pro ... en-noodle/
5) Tim's

Thai:
1) https://www.campbellsfoodservice.ca/pro ... h-chicken/
2) Tim's. This is actually my point though. They obviously can put out a pretty good soup because their ingredient list is practically identical to Campbell's which is also pretty good. I'd be surprised if you could tell the difference. Campbell's is frozen and ready to go. Retherm it and serve. Tim's probably does the same thing.
Campbells wins by a hair due to more chicken.

Chili
1) HAHA I tricked you! This is Tim's. Despite the textured soy protein, for me I "compromised" here because they have beef as their first ingredient. It's a close race though because Campbell's has Chipotle which would give it a bit more depth.
2) https://www.campbellsfoodservice.ca/pro ... /?l=search

Tim's Thai/Chili: (From 2017, they don't publish ingredients any more)
http://web.archive.org/web/201707201617 ... ne2017.pdf


To read the spoilers above, copy the text to something like notepad.
[OP]
Penalty Box
Feb 22, 2016
4357 posts
3883 upvotes
Wow, that was epic! The TL;DR summary of what you wrote is this:

Tim's needs to recognize why McDonald's is the king of fast food, and copy their ways when possible.

Let me count the ways... (going in the reverse order of how you wrote it).

1- (not a McDonald's thing but I'll cover it first) If they're going to ship frozen donuts why the f--- aren't they shipping frozen soups? That is the biggest no-brainer in your post. I've seen the frozen soups sold by food court places like Druxy's on sale at liquidators like Almost Perfect. Even tried some. They turn out just fine, and taste a hell of a lot better than canned or powder mix.

2- McDonalds does not reheat frozen food (except maybe the McCafe pastries/donuts). Complete sandwiches do not arrive frozen from the factory. Nothing wrong with frozen ingredients like beef patties, fries, etc -- but those items are shipped raw to be cooked in-store.

3- Worldwide expansion is pointless unless there's this big untapped Canadians diaspora overseas that miss you that much that I didn't know about. Sorry Tim's, you aren't Jollibee. When I went to Dubai 5 years ago I was surprised to see Tim Horton's there. I was not surprised to see that they were getting their ass kicked by Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and every other fast food chain (from all over the world) there. At the massive Dubai Mall they were the only food outlet that didn't have a lineup on a busy Friday night*. That speaks volumes. if they can't make it in America, they have no chance in Asia or Europe or Middle East. I'd love to see them try coffee-snob Australia for a laugh... not even Starbucks did well there. Even better, Tim Horton's in BUFFALO doesn't have lineups at the drive thru. And that's a market that's fully aware of the brand. America Runs On Dunkin (and Starbucks, and McDonald's), full stop.

(* in the UAE "weekends" are Friday and Saturday, so Friday is like a Saturday to us. The mall was packed with families and tourists that night)

4- Fewer stores... they dug themselves a hole here. But what direct competitor would sweep in and pick up vacant Tim's locations? I doubt Dunkin Donuts will try Canada again anytime soon. KK won't make the same mistake they did in the early 2000's with rapid expansion. And I certainly can't see Country Style or any of the other Tim's wannabes making a comeback. Starbucks doesn't need old Tim's shops, they have the locations they need and they're already oversaturated in many areas. McDonald's wouldn't want them as the typical McD is 50-100% larger in area than the typical standalone TH.

5- Breakfast -- geez, McDonald's has had breakfasts for years, and has used freshly cracked eggs for the McMuffins from day 1. Tim's garbage breakfasts are barely on par with Starbucks breakfasts (which are frozen sandwiches reheated in a TurboChef). If you want to take on McDonald's you gotta at least match their products. Trying to beat McDonald's at breakfast using Starbucks methods is a failure. Starbucks isn't acting like they're taking on McDonald's, because they aren't. Starbucks makes their money off coffee and milkshakes for the kids. Whatever they make on TurboChef is just bonus.

6- Can't do Oreo Ice Caps? Really? How often does McDonald's change the mix-ins for the McFlurry? Try every season! (Easter they'll do the Cadbury Creme Egg McFlurry, Christmas they'll be some candy-cane/peppermint one). If McD can do it without missing a beat, no excuse for TH.

7- Roll up the rim -- holy shit McDonald's already has the answer and all they have to do is copy it! The McCafe rewards used to (and still) come in the form of stickers on the cups you collect. Now the app also collects "stickers" for you, but the paper stickers still exist and yes you can get the reward both ways. McDonald's would have really annoyed its senior customers had they totally ditched the stickers, so they wisely did not. Tim's, McD just did your market research for you... Tim's also needs to realize that the current generation of kids (Gen Z, millennials, etc) don't like their crap - you see them at Starbucks getting their instagrammable Frappuccinos, and lined up for an hour at Krispy Kreme. It's the older generation (born in the 70's and earlier) that are the Tim's addicts. Lose those customers as they get older, and you're in big trouble. Tim's needs to get into the seniors game FAST.

Bottom line, there's still a lot of nostalgia for TH. Give their still-loyal customers what they want so they'll continue to be loyal and not jump ship to McCafe like many already have -- the coffee they used to serve, fresh donuts like they used to serve. TH will never lose its core customer base to Krispy Kreme... but they already lost an entire generation of teens and young adults to Starbucks, that they may never win back.
Friendly reminder #1: The Golden Arches fast food chain is McDonald's, not MacDonald's. Thank you for your attention.
Friendly reminder #2: Price matching is NOT the law. Never was, never will be. Nobody can stop you from shopping elsewhere.
[OP]
Penalty Box
Feb 22, 2016
4357 posts
3883 upvotes
I forgot to touch on this point, about express lanes:
death_hawk wrote: If McDonalds ever does this, Tim's is sunk.
Also don't they do this? I could swear I've seen dual lines before.
McDonald's ordering/delivery system sort of "fast tracks" coffee orders inside. (you didn't mean a drive-thru express lane, right?)
Say 2 people submit their orders at the same time (Be it on the app, kiosk, or the manned cash register), one is just getting McCafe the other a Big Mac meal.
Guaranteed the McCafe customer is getting his coffee and will be out the door/seated and drinking it before the guy who ordered a meal gets his.

Even in the drive thru, if they're busy the coffee guy will get his coffee at the 2nd window and be on the road right away. The lunch/dinner guy might be asked to "park in stall #1 and we'll bring it out for you".

I don't believe I've ever seen dual lines (one for coffee only, the other for food) at a McD.
Friendly reminder #1: The Golden Arches fast food chain is McDonald's, not MacDonald's. Thank you for your attention.
Friendly reminder #2: Price matching is NOT the law. Never was, never will be. Nobody can stop you from shopping elsewhere.
Deal Addict
Dec 12, 2010
1942 posts
546 upvotes
Toronto
It's not rocket science but the top thing they need to do is have better quality food and drink.

I don't buy sandwiches there but I'm not a fan of having pre-packaged sandwiches at all. I like being able to customize it.

I would love someone to pick apart Starbucks food offerings in North America - especially when you see what they have in other countries.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
27311 posts
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EastGTARedFlagger wrote: If they're going to ship frozen donuts why the f--- aren't they shipping frozen soups? That is the biggest no-brainer in your post. I've seen the frozen soups sold by food court places like Druxy's on sale at liquidators like Almost Perfect. Even tried some. They turn out just fine, and taste a hell of a lot better than canned or powder mix.
I don't get it either. I could see if there were no freezer trucks going to shops, but it's pretty clear that their donuts are frozen.
I shit on frozen soups solely because no restaurant should use them. But if you have no ingredients to make soup, they're not actually THAT bad.
I buy them personally on occasion because I'm lazy and don't want to buy 300 ingredients to make a soup.
Ironically.... I occasionally make 20L of soup, portion them into 1L portions and freeze them myself. Now I have a mostly fresh soup any time without having to do any work more than once. It's not really that much more difficult to make 20L of soup over 1L.

But for some reason adding water to a powder makes more sense for them? The ONLY reason here is cost.
2- McDonalds does not reheat frozen food (except maybe the McCafe pastries/donuts). Complete sandwiches do not arrive frozen from the factory. Nothing wrong with frozen ingredients like beef patties, fries, etc -- but those items are shipped raw to be cooked in-store.
This is also why I think food at a coffee shop is stupid. Why am I eating reheated food when there's thousands of other places that also quick serve that'll cook me something.
Cooking from raw (even frozen) tastes better than something that's fully or even par cooked.
3- Worldwide expansion is pointless unless there's this big untapped Canadians diaspora overseas that miss you that much that I didn't know about.

Agree. Nothing useful to add.
But what direct competitor would sweep in and pick up vacant Tim's locations?

I'd totally pick up a Tim's location. I'm not sure I'd put a coffee shop in so I may not be a direct competitor, but they're generally in fairly high profile locations.
You covered it as to why a coffee competitor may not, but if it's a good enough location someone could cram even a McDonalds there.

Tim's garbage breakfasts are barely on par with Starbucks breakfasts (which are frozen sandwiches reheated in a TurboChef).
Now... I haven't been to Tim's in a while, so I don't know if they have them, but the last time I looked they don't have these high speed convection ovens and I don't know why.
They're idiot proof (put a thing in, hit a button), they're fast (every sort of heat you can think of is generated by these things), and they produce some pretty okay results.
Not that this will let them compete on the breakfast stage since they won't do a ring egg that well so they'll still be stuck with the carpets.
6- Can't do Oreo Ice Caps? Really? How often does McDonald's change the mix-ins for the McFlurry? Try every season! (Easter they'll do the Cadbury Creme Egg McFlurry, Christmas they'll be some candy-cane/peppermint one). If McD can do it without missing a beat, no excuse for TH.
I honestly wonder about this one. There's no technical reason why this should be difficult.
7- Roll up the rim -- holy shit McDonald's already has the answer and all they have to do is copy it! The McCafe rewards used to (and still) come in the form of stickers on the cups you collect. Now the app also collects "stickers" for you, but the paper stickers still exist and yes you can get the reward both ways. McDonald's would have really annoyed its senior customers had they totally ditched the stickers, so they wisely did not. Tim's, McD just did your market research for you... Tim's also needs to realize that the current generation of kids (Gen Z, millennials, etc) don't like their crap - you see them at Starbucks getting their instagrammable Frappuccinos, and lined up for an hour at Krispy Kreme. It's the older generation (born in the 70's and earlier) that are the Tim's addicts. Lose those customers as they get older, and you're in big trouble. Tim's needs to get into the seniors game FAST.
Pretty much this.
How many complaint threads have we seen about McDonald's coffee loyalty program? I don't recall any. A few to game the system, but no complaints.
How many complaint threads have we seen about Tim's loyalty programs? I can think of 3-4 offhand on here alone.
You can be stuck between a rock and a hard place, but McDonalds (and I) figured it out. How does someone with a billion dollars of revenue not figure this out?
Bottom line, there's still a lot of nostalgia for TH.
Exactly. Your year over year sales are falling. Nostalgia only goes so far. If you can't capture the new market, you're kind of boned when your existing nostalgia based customers literally age out.
Give their still-loyal customers what they want so they'll continue to be loyal and not jump ship to McCafe like many already have -- the coffee they used to serve, fresh donuts like they used to serve.
Exactly. They're prolific enough that some may actually come back. But speaking personally I'm never going back because their food is just disgusting.
I hold no ill will long term and would probably happily come back if their donuts weren't laughably bad. I cried a little when I tried a crueller a few years back because it ruined my memory of them. I took a couple bites and tossed it.
TH will never lose its core customer base to Krispy Kreme...
That's really only because there's more Tim's within walking distance to me than there's Krispy Kremes in all of Canada.
I'm pretty sure if it was backwards Tim's wouldn't even exist. They're a convenience more than a destination.
but they already lost an entire generation of teens and young adults to Starbucks, that they may never win back.
When they transition to being an adult they may move away from fraps and switch to coffee based solely on cost.
But if Tim's doesn't do anything to capture this market, they'll probably stay at a familiar place like Starbucks.
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Dec 27, 2009
6998 posts
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Victoria, BC
Pete_Coach wrote: Never been a fan of Tims but do go to get Timbits and donuts.
Tims seemed to have been more interested in selling franchises than upping their game. The competition for coffee is huge. Many places selling coffee nowadays that Tim's is losing out to them. Not just Starbucks or Second Cups but plethora of independent boutique shoppes.
I did a lot of traveling across Canada and found that in small towns and cities, Tims is the place to go but, in larger communities, Tims is losing ground to, of all places, MacDonald's.
Tim's success was coffee and donuts...it should get back there.
They lost me when they stopped being a donut shop/making their donuts in house. I don't drink coffee so couldn't care less about that, but their donuts used to be good. Remember when they had the fancies too such as eclairs/wedges?
[OP]
Penalty Box
Feb 22, 2016
4357 posts
3883 upvotes
We pretty much agree on everything but I wanted to touch on this point:
death_hawk wrote: When they transition to being an adult they may move away from fraps and switch to coffee based solely on cost.
But if Tim's doesn't do anything to capture this market, they'll probably stay at a familiar place like Starbucks.
They won't go to Tim's when they outgrow Frappuccinos. They'll either stay with Starbucks and first progress to those "hot candy in a cup" drinks -- PSL, cinnamon dolce latte, caramel macchiato, gingerbread latte -- and eventually to the adult drinks like flat whites, doppio espresso macchiatos, etc, or decide they're "too cool for Starbucks, which is for amateurs" and turn all coffee-snob by going to places like Intelligentsia, Stumptown, and Blue Bottle in the USA (so for the GTA I'm thinking Sam James, Fahrenheit, Pilot, Balzac's, etc.). Tim's will always be uncool for this group. Tim's lost them and can never get them back.

The equivalent would be a beer drinker from that age group. Probably drank Budweiser when they were teens, but once legal, turn into beer-snobs and buy nothing but hoppy craft beer. Bud lost this group in the same way Tim's did.

Remember, Gen Z and Millennials are more like rich spoiled 80's kids -- very upmarket, or want to look the part. Tim Hortons and Budweiser are beneath them. They weren't beat into submission by the boomers and destined to lives of poverty like Gen X was. This is why Tim's owns Gen X and needs to keep them. Tim's is for poor people, those with money (or think they do) wouldn't be caught dead there. Where do you see panhandlers spend all that spare change they got? Not Starbucks....

The outlook for Tim's is very bleak given the demographics they rely on.
Friendly reminder #1: The Golden Arches fast food chain is McDonald's, not MacDonald's. Thank you for your attention.
Friendly reminder #2: Price matching is NOT the law. Never was, never will be. Nobody can stop you from shopping elsewhere.
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Oct 24, 2005
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Who is reading all of this? They deserve a thanks.
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Dec 20, 2018
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All that needs to be said is even Starbucks reheated breakfast and lunch sandwiches are way better than the"freshly" made tims items basically summerize how bad Tims food is

Their drinks/coffee is only passable at max freshness especially if you're not doing a double double to mask it all
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Jul 20, 2016
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when i get no sleep the night before and really need a pick me up .. i don't mind Timmy's greasy sausage farmer's wrap :D but i'd never eat it when im in stable mental conditions

their coffee taste like sour chemical mixes but if you get double double it's hard to tell ... There are a couple of McCafe stand alone stores in DT Toronto and they sht all over Timmys in drinks and food. I esp enjoy their apple brie croissants. The "upscale" Tims innovation cafe in First Canadian Place is a sad attempt. My brain does not think Tim Horton's when wanting a matcha latte.

Interesting thing about their branding is their Asian expansion. Was in Shanghai last year and I was surprised to see a "tim hortons coffee house" under construction in IFC Mall which is a very upscale complex in Lujiazui.

All the problems haven't stopped the 3G Capital partner from minting it, good for him tbh doing it at such a young age. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/busines ... ine-years/
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EastGTARedFlagger wrote:
Remember, Gen Z and Millennials are more like rich spoiled 80's kids -- very upmarket, or want to look the part. Tim Hortons and Budweiser are beneath them. They weren't beat into submission by the boomers and destined to lives of poverty like Gen X was.
As a Gen X'er, I support this statement.
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Aug 22, 2006
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EastGTARedFlagger wrote:
McDonald's ordering/delivery system sort of "fast tracks" coffee orders inside. (you didn't mean a drive-thru express lane, right?)
Say 2 people submit their orders at the same time (Be it on the app, kiosk, or the manned cash register), one is just getting McCafe the other a Big Mac meal.
Guaranteed the McCafe customer is getting his coffee and will be out the door/seated and drinking it before the guy who ordered a meal gets his.
I was under the impression that it was the opposite unless it changed recently.
There was a thread on here complaining about this exactly. The guy getting a coffee being stuck behind the guy with the Big Mac and a non soda dink.

To be honest... i'd surprise me if it was true.
Fast tracking coffee makes FAR more sense.
Even in the drive thru, if they're busy the coffee guy will get his coffee at the 2nd window and be on the road right away. The lunch/dinner guy might be asked to "park in stall #1 and we'll bring it out for you".
DT for sure.
I don't believe I've ever seen dual lines (one for coffee only, the other for food) at a McD.
This was Tim's, not McDs.
EastGTARedFlagger wrote: They won't go to Tim's when they outgrow Frappuccinos. They'll either stay with Starbucks and first progress to those "hot candy in a cup" drinks -- PSL, cinnamon dolce latte, caramel macchiato, gingerbread latte -- and eventually to the adult drinks like flat whites, doppio espresso macchiatos, etc, or decide they're "too cool for Starbucks, which is for amateurs" and turn all coffee-snob by going to places like Intelligentsia, Stumptown, and Blue Bottle in the USA (so for the GTA I'm thinking Sam James, Fahrenheit, Pilot, Balzac's, etc.). Tim's will always be uncool for this group. Tim's lost them and can never get them back.
Good point.
Tha_Doggg wrote: Who is reading all of this? They deserve a thanks.
Apparently at least 4....


EDIT: Missed a bracket.

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