Tim Hortons opens five cafe, bake shops in UAE

Abdul Basit
Filed on December 8, 2011

DUBAI - Canada’s largest restaurant chain Tim Hortons, which sells two billion cups of coffee per year, on Wednesday officially opened five café and bake shops in the UAE.

The company intends to bring its freshly baked and freshly brewed products to the region’s residential and commercial communities, aiming for 120 restaurants.

Established in 1964, the brand has almost 4,000 restaurants. It enjoys 80 per cent market share of coffee in Canada in quick service restaurant segment.

Another one dozen restaurants are in the pipeline in the UAE while it is expected to reach 30 in the region in a year time, according to top officials of Tim Hortons and its master licensee Apparel Group.

The Canadian company selected Dubai for its first international expansion and opened its first café in September that attracted a large number of people.

“It was opened more than two months back and the response is terrific,” Tim Hortons Executive Chairman Paul House told Khaleej Times at the opening of Shaikh Zayed Road. The company officially opened four outlets in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

The road show started at Tim Hortons newest location at Deira City Centre with a formal opening, after which the team moved on to the brand’s premiere location on Sheikh Zayed Road.

Abu Dhabi’s first Tim Hortons was formally launched at Mushrif Mall in the afternoon marking the start of Tim Hortons planned expansion across the UAE, for which plans for cafes and bake shops in Sharjah for the first half of 2012 have recently been announced.

Speaking of the brand’s entry to the UAE, House, said: “The UAE provides us with an ideal launch venue for our international expansion, with its diverse population, emerging market and openness to new concepts and brands. We have been impressed by the reception we have received from the Dubai and Abu Dhabi markets so far.”

Outlining the five-year plan for the region he said Saudi Arabia is not included in 120 outlets in this period, adding: “We will go to Saudi Arabia in a couple of years.

“We will probably have another 10 to 12 or more next year this time in the UAE,” he said. From now to early next year around 60 stores are in the pipeline globally, he added.

Regarding sales expectations, he said there is no target set for sales. “We just want stores open and so far we exceed our expectations,” he added.

Tim Hortons provides meals ranging from breakfast, to lunch and evening meals, as well as snacks and take away products that cater to the needs of its customers.

Since opening its first restaurant on Sheikh Zayed Road in September, the brand has experienced encouraging and consistent customer traffic, according to Apparel Group chairman Nilesh Ved.

Eight more are lined up for opening shortly in Gulf region and by the end of next year the region will have 30 stores, Ved told Khaleej Times at the launch.

“As Canada’s largest restaurant chain and a well respected brand, Tim Hortons works well for those who are looking for a food offering that blends quality service with value pricing and the convenience of a coffee shop. We believe that the UAE offers an ideal environment to grow the brand’s popularity to the other Gulf states and we are continuing to search for additional sites,” he said.

“Our baked goods are proving quite popular and we’re enjoying repeat visits from loyal customers who are sharing our donuts, muffins, sandwiches and signature Timbits with friends, family and colleagues,” said Tim Hortons Chief Operations Officer, David Clanachan. “We’ve had a tremendous response from the public and we’re looking forward to continuing to explore new opportunities in the region.”

Each restaurant will be baking its own baked goods, ensuring customers receive the freshest of donuts, cookies, muffins, bagels and sandwiches. “We make everything in our stores and the range of products is much bigger than others,” he said.

Apparel Group is a global fashion and lifestyle brand conglomerate residing at the crossroads of the modern economy — Dubai. The Group’s mercurial growth in the last 10 years has been achieved through the acquisition of a host of world class fashion labels from around the world — Nine West, Tommy Hilfiger, Kenneth Cole and Aldo, to name a few.

Things getting better and better every year as 2009 was tough for business and last year has been much better than 2009 and the same case is this year, Ved said.

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