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Canadian Doughnut Shop Targets Upstate
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SYRACUSE - Tim Hortons, Canada's top doughnut and coffee chain, will expand its American franchises in upstate New York and is targeting Syracuse and Rochester, according to Wendy's International CEO Jack Schuessler. The Dublin, Ohio-based hamburger chain acquired Tim Hortons in 1995.

Wendy's officials say they plan to launch 20 new Tim Hortons stores in the United States over the next year. The Buffalo market already hosts 20 Tim Hortons shops; Tim Hortons held a franchise information open house in that city in late October. Buffalo was also the site of this year's first-ever meeting of the Tim Hortons franchisees in the United States. The Canadian company entered the Buffalo market in the 1980s, before it was acquired by Wendy's.

Franchising efforts will initially focus on the Rochester and then the Syracuse market, says Diane SlopekWeber, manager of corporate communications for Tim Hortons.

In addition to the Upstate locations, Wendy's will target cities in Michigan and Ohio, where the company is based. Tim Hortons' largest American concentration of stores is in the Detroit, Columbus, and Buffalo markets.

"The Buffalo market is doing incredibly well," says SlopekWeber.


During his conference call, Schuessler reported that samestore sales at the Tim Hortons locations in the United States had increased by more than 10 percent for six consecutive quarters.

Tim Hortons restaurants are operated by franchisees who own their own stores. Each franchisee completes an eight-week training course at the company's Oakville, Ontario facility.

Because of French-language sign laws in the province of Quebec, Tim Hortons is spelled without an apostrophe to standardize signage across the chain. Canadian Tim Hortons outlets feature bilingual menus and cups. The chain's ubiquitous coffee cups proclaim the company motto "Always Fresh" on one side and "Toujours Frais" on the opposite side. Obligatory warnings about the injury potential of hot coffee are also printed in English and French.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tim Horton opened his first doughnut shop in Hamilton, Ontario in 1964. Hamilton, a heavily industrialized port city, lies at the western end of Lake Ontario, between Buffalo and Toronto.

The following year, Horton took on Ron Joyce, a Hamilton police officer, as a business partner and the two men began to turn the shop into a chain by opening new stores.

Horton, whose teams won the Stanley cup four times, continued to play in the National Hockey League while building a restaurant business. His career began with the Maple Leafs in 1949, where he played for 20 years. Horton's final seasons were served with the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Buffalo Sabres. In 1974, while returning to Buffalo from a game in Toronto, Horton was killed in a traffic accident. The Sabres retired Horton's No. 2 jersey in tribute to their fallen player.

After Horton's death, Joyce bought his partner's share in the fledgling chain that now boasted 40 stores. In the 1970s and '80s, Tim Hortons began expanding its menu beyond coffee and doughnuts. The chain introduced the Timbit, known in the states as a "doughnut hole," and followed the move with a series of new products. By the 1990s, Tim Hortons had added cakes, pies, muffins, croissants, bagels, and soups.

Tim Hortons has 1,866 stores in Canada and more than 100 in the United States. Kentucky, Maine, and West Virginia are also franchising locations.

The chain's coffee continues to be its top product. Over the years, the variety of blends have increased and Tim Hortons coffee is sold in cans at the shops as well as in Canadian grocery stores.

Two years ago, the chain introduced a line of sandwiches, bringing Tim Hortons in competition with quick-serve restaurants. Parent company Wendy's has opened several colocated stores in Canada featuring both a Wendy's restaurant and a Tim Hortons outlet.

The co-locations have worked well in Canada, says SlopekWeber, because Wendy's Restaurants has not achieved the significant level of market penetration that the company enjoys in the states. There are only about 300 Wendy's in Canada. Existing Wendy's franchises in the United States could limit Tim Hortons franchisees' ability to open combination properties. However, cooperation between the brands' franchisees could lead to new development, she says.

The Buffalo market is apparently a strong starting market for the doughnut business. Expanding North Carolina-based doughnut-maker Krispy Kreme has opened a shop in Buffalo and plans to launch another location in Rochester later this year.

Copyright Central New York Business Journal Nov 24, 2000
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved