| China

Tims China roll-outs small format stores at Shanghai Metro stations

Setting its sights on commuter footfall in China’s largest city, Tims China has opened an initial seven stores on the 31-station Line 14 route of the Shanghai Metro

A small format Tim Hortons kiosk at Lujiazui Station on Line 14 | Photo credit: Tims China


Tims China has opened seven small-format stores within Shanghai Metro stations as part of a new agreement with the transit network. 

Shanghai-based Tims China, which operates more than 900 Tim Hortons stores across China, said it will open further on-the-go coffee shops across the 31-station Line 14 route of the Shanghai Metro without providing further details. 

The stores build on Tims China’s convenience-focused Tims Express format, introduced in August 2022 and present at around 100 supermarkets and convenience stores as of September 2023. 

Although similiar to takeaway-only Tims Express kiosks, the compact Shanghai Metro locations will trade under the Tim Hortons brand while incorporating design elements of the Metro network's train carriages, façades and lighting.  

“The partnership between Tims China and Shanghai Metro is about more than just coffee. It is about providing a better commuter experience and it speaks for our efforts to think outside the box in terms of traditional consumption habits,” said Yongchen Lu, CEO, Tims China. 

The Shanghai Metro is the largest metro system in the world by route length, totaling 8,202km, and second largest by number of stations, with 408 across 19 lines. Approximately 10 million passengers use the transit system on an average workday. Line 14 is 39km long, with passengers able to transfer to 13 other metro lines. 

Tim Hortons opened its first coffee shop in China in February 2019 and is seeking to reach 2,750 stores by 2026.  

Recent outlet growth has been led by the roll-out of Tims Express kiosks, which are typically 200-220sq ft in size. Following partnerships with convenience store chain Easy Joy, real estate firm Century 21, home appliance retailer Haier and snack store chain Bestore, the Tims Express network has grown to account for more than 15% of Tims China’s total footprint.  

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