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Low city centre footfall the ‘biggest issue’ for Tim Hortons’ pandemic recovery

Restaurant Brands International (RBI) CEO highlights concern for Tim Hortons' Canadian city centre locations as reduced footfall continues to hit sales 

Low commuter and office worker footfall continue to hit Tim Hortons' sales | Photo credit: Tim Hortons



Low footfall at downtown city stores in Canada are the 'biggest issue' facing Tim Hortons' recovery from the pandemic according to Jose Cil, CEO of coffee chain's parent company, Restaurant Brands International (RBI).


Speaking at the virtual Scotiabank Back to School conference on 14 September 2021, Cil said sales at its urban sites remained in the mid-to-high 20% range compared to 2019. 
 

"For us at Tim's, the biggest issue and the biggest drag continues to be urbanity – so the super-urban locations, in downtown corridors in Toronto and elsewhere,” said Jose Cil, CEO of RBI. 
 

"Certainly, the mobility in workplace areas still continues to be the biggest drag on the business, but the encouraging news is that when you look outside of the super-urban locations, the business is getting back to 2019, pre-pandemic levels," added Cil. 
 

World Coffee Portal data shows store sales across the Canadian branded coffee shop market contracted by an estimated 22% in 2020.  
 

Exceeding 7,400 outlets, Canada’s branded coffee shop market is dominated by Tim Hortons and Starbucks, which comprise around three quarters of the market. 
 

In August 2021, RBI reported Tim Hortons now operates 5,065 stores globally, a 2.7% increase on the same period in 2020. Approximately 96% of RBI’s Tim Hortons, Burger King and Popeyes sites worldwide were open for business as of 30 June 2021. 


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