| Canada

Tim Hortons to invest in digital tools as part of C$80m improvement plan

Tim Hortons to invest C$80m (US$64.3m) in digital marketing, mobile payment and advertising as part of its ‘Back to Basics Plan’ as it seeks to become an ‘industry leader’ in digital guest experiences

Tim Horton's 'My Tim Card' mobile payment app | Photo credit: Tim Hortons 

Tim Hortons has announced a significant investment in its digital marketing capabilities in a bid to boost the veteran brand’s sales performance in its native Canadian market.
Announcing the ‘Back To Basics Plan', Jose Cil, CEO of Tim Hortons' parent company Restaurant Brands International, said he wanted the coffee chain to become “an industry leader in the digital guest experience.”
According to a press release, Tim Hortons’ mobile app in Canada has seen monthly active users grow approximately five-fold since 2018, with around one-third of all Canadian adults using the Tims Rewards loyalty programme in the last 18 months.
“We are continuing to work hard on improving personalised offers on the app and are rolling out predictive selling on our drive-thru menu boards across the country this year. This is all part of our goal to provide Canada's best in class digital guest experience,” said Tim Hortons President, Axel Schwan.
The investment will also pay for a ‘substantial increase in overall advertising’ during 2021, intended to strengthen consumer perceptions on quality and value-for-money, the coffee chain said.
Tim Hortons has already invested in international expansion during 2021, announcing a new Middle Eastern headquarters, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in January, and plans to open 200 new stores in China in March.
Nevertheless, Canada remains by far the coffee chain’s largest market, where more than 4,000 of its 4,900 global store portfolio are located. Tim Hortons' focus on digital interaction underlines the acceleration of app-based ordering, loyalty schemes, delivery and drive-thru adoption in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
World Coffee Portal research shows store sales across the Canadian branded coffee shop market contracted by an estimated 22% in 2020, with the market valued at around C$9.5bn – a C$2.5bn sales decline on 2019. Data from Project Café Canada 2021 shows Tim Hortons is Canada’s favourite coffee chain, with the brand holding a 54% share of Canada’s branded coffee shop market.

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