If there’s anything the world recognizes about Canada, it’s that we need our Tim Hortons. However, with busy schedules there might not always be time to stop by and grab a doughnut or coffee. The franchise has recognized the need for convenience because they are now testing a delivery system in three Canadian cities.
On Monday, the doughnut and coffee chain launched the delivery service with the food delivery app, Skip The Dishes. The delivery service will go through 148 restaurants within the cities of Vancouver, Ottawa and Edmonton.
“I think we came in with a mindset that we have to listen to our guests and adapt to their changing needs,” Alex Macedo, President of Tim Hortons said.
The Chief Corporate Officer of Restaurant Brands International, Duncan Fulton, was given some of the credit by Macedo for this innovation, along with a group of new hires. Tim Hortons is hoping to expand this delivery test to other cities in the near future.
According the to the Globe and Mail, Tim Hortons’ decision to test delivery services might be due to the negative press the chain has been facing lately. The news outlet reported that this is one of the several things the chain is doing to stay relevant. The company recently took a hit to their reputation when they fell from Canada’s fourth top company to number 50 in April, according to the corporate reputation report. This significant drop in popularity was apparently due to cuts in paid breaks and some employee benefits as a response to the rise in minimum wage.
It is unclear whether this delivery idea will be enough to regain consumer trust after their recent bout of bad press. However, Tim Hortons isn’t the only company turning to delivery to gain sales.
Cineplex has also announced that it will deliver concession stand snacks via Uber Eats within 60 communities in Alberta, Quebec, Ontario and BC. In the US, grocery giant Kroger recently developed a driverless delivery vehicle service they want to test. The list doesn’t stop there, with Whole Foods announcing they will be delivering their food through Amazon.
Though Tim Hortons doesn’t have to worry about market competition from these companies, they’re betting that delivery might not be enough to stand out. Tim Hortons is also planning to trial a kids menu and a loyalty program. The loyalty program will start out as a physical card that will eventually be incorporated into the Tim Hortons app, which allows customers to order and pay in advance. The kid’s menu seems to mimic offerings found at other fast food places but is new to the Canadian coffee and doughnut world.
“There’s still a lot of other kids menu items out there … that not everybody’s embracing that could be very unique to Tim Hortons,” Fulton said.
The chain is further pushing its innovations internationally and trying to branch out from being just a well-known Canadian coffee house. Tim Hortons is planning to open 1,500 stores in China within the next 10 years. According to the Financial Post, China is the world’s second largest economy, making it a potentially lucrative market for Tim Hortons.
“Tim Hortons’ legacy in Canada lies in convincing Canadians to make and consume coffee somewhere else than their home. However, in these past few years an increasing number of Caucasian Canadians are preparing coffee themselves; the trend for Asian Canadians is the opposite,” Sylvian Charlebois, professor in food distribution and policy from Dalhousie University told the news outlet.
Is Tim Hortons making rash decisions or smart moves? With a spot at number 50 in their reputation report, the chain doesn’t have much to lose.