| China

Tims China to relaunch Popeyes in China as part of new business tie-up

The operator of Tim Hortons in China says its proposed agreement to develop fast-food chain Popeyes will enhance distribution, supply chain, sales and marketing capabilities for both brands

Tims China CEO Yongchen Lu said the two brands have ‘exponential growth potential’ | Photo credit: Popeyes


Tims China, which operates Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons across China, is set to gain the exclusive rights to develop and sub-franchise fast-food chain Popeyes across the country. 

Founded in 1972, Popeyes currently has more than 3,900 locations globally. The quick-service fried chicken chain is owned by Canadian restaurant group Restaurant Brands International (RBI), which is also the parent company of Tim Hortons. 

Tims China, formed by Cartesian Capital Group and Restaurant Brands International in 2018, opened its first store in 2019 in Shanghai and now operates more than 600 stores across China. 

Popeyes debuted in China in 2020 as a wholly owned venture of RBI and reached 10 outlets. However, the company closed all but two stores in the country last year following pandemic trading restrictions. 

Tims China CEO Yongchen Lu said Tims China and Popeyes have ‘complementary product offerings and exponential growth potential’ and the agreement will bring ‘significant operational and development synergies’. 

Among these he cited greater scale, a stronger financial model and new restaurant development opportunities. 

Speaking to World Coffee Portal, Tims China Chairman Peter Yu said: “Adding Popeyes to our platform generates tremendous synergies, including distribution, supply chain, sales and marketing. But most important is our people. We are leveraging our top talent which is the scarcest resource in the world.”  

“We plan to have dedicated shops for Popeyes in a range of formats, just like we do with Tims China, and we will consider locating stores of the two brands next to each other where we can achieve rent reductions or get access to attractive real estate,” Lu added. 

In September 2022, Tims China completed its merger with special purpose acquisition company Silver Crest and began trading on New York’s Nasdaq stock exchange. 

The company is seeking to reach 2,750 Tims China outlets across China by 2026. 

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