TORONTO — Executives of Tim Hortons expect a loaded platform featuring wraps and bowls will drive afternoon sales. Food in the p.m. daypart represents an $8.5 billion market in Canada and has a 5% compound annual growth rate, said Hope Bagozzi, chief marketing officer of Tim Hortons.
“While our share is only 4%, this represents incredible opportunity for growth,” she said in a May 3 investor day presentation for Tim Hortons Canada. “Today, we drive around 30% of sales from lunch and dinner, significantly under-indexed in QSR peers who generate more than 50% of their sales from these dayparts. We’ve also seen notable industry growth from these dayparts over the past few years, particularly in dinner, which grew 14% in 2019.
“This week, we’re launching our loaded platform, beginning with loaded wraps and followed by loaded bowls later this summer. Our loaded wraps will extend our wrap leadership in the market by introducing a heartier, crave-able and more filling experience for our guests. Our loaded bowls were identified as an attractive white space opportunity, evolving and stretching our menu into high-growth segments that will not only drive p.m. traffic but also appeal to new younger guests.”
The Tim Hortons Canada investors day came on the same day parent company Restaurant Brands International, Inc. announced financial results for the first quarter ended March 31. Comparable-store sales for Tim Hortons increased 8%, including 10% in Canada. In the rest of the world, comparable-store sales for Tim Hortons dipped 1.2%. Companywide, Toronto-based RBI had net income of $270 million, or 59¢ per share on the common stock, which compared with $271 million, or 59¢ per share, in the previous year’s first quarter. Total revenues increased 15% to $1.45 billion from $1.26 billion.
Axel Schwan, president of Tim Hortons Americas, in the investor day presentation gave updates on breakfast food, baked foods and coffee.
“The launch of fresh cracked eggs in early 2021 helped to grow our breakfast food market share from 57% in 2019 to 59% in 2021 and helped to significantly improve breakfast food satisfaction among our guests,” he said. “This positive momentum and our superior tasting quality has also translated into higher sales, driving breakfast food sales up 8% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2019.”
Bagels, English muffins and biscuits now have no artificial flavors or preservatives, he added. Switching to digital menus at drive-thrus could increase baked foods sales as well.
“Baked goods had historically under-indexed in our drive-thrus because our in-store showcases are not visible,” said Matt Moore, chief operating officer of Tim Hortons. “So we developed and tested a dynamic virtual baked goods showcase on our drive-thru digital menu boards, including live updates based on what’s available in the restaurant. We believe this has potential to increase our baked goods sales in the drive-thru.”
Schwan pointed out restaurant owners invested in new brewing technology to create a more consistent cup of coffee and installed the same water filtration system in every restaurant in Canada.
“As you all know, the taste of water changes city by city,” he said. “So with water being a key ingredient in a cup of coffee, it was important that we deliver the same taste profile no matter where you live or travel to.”
The blend and roast of dark roast coffee was improved as well.
“The result of these initiatives has been strong and has helped grow our market share again,” Schwan said. “Despite already owning 70% of the market for hot brewed coffee when we started these changes in 2019, we grew our market share to 72% by the end of 2021 and improved product satisfaction of hot brewed coffee by 2 percentage points since 2020.”
Another coffee change came with a richer, stronger espresso, and Tim Hortons began offering milk alternatives such as oat milk alternatives, Bagozzi said.
“We’ve been pleased with our traction to date, increasing our espresso base market share from 35% in 2019 to over 40% in 2021, allowing Tims to take a leadership position in this segment and delivering a sustaining sales lift of over 26%,” she said.