OAKVILLE, Ont. — According to a recent article in The Globe and Mail, Tim Hortons Inc. is preparing to introduce premium-espresso coffees in efforts to compete in the QSR coffee wars.
In an email response to The Globe and Mail, Tim Hortons Canada’s president Sami Siddiqui confirmed the company is currently testing new coffees in its Vancouver and London, Ont. locations with a goal of launching the new beverages nationwide next year — industry insiders are predicting a spring-2017 launch.
Though the QSR already sells espresso-based coffees in the form of lattes and cappuccino’s, those offerings come from powdered mixes of coffee and milk. In a market with a rapidly growing consumer base of premium coffees, such mixes fall short of the competition. Starbucks, for example, is regularly adding new higher-end brews to its product lineup, while McDonald’s Canada improved its coffees this year by investing $17 million to add new Swiss espresso machines to 1,200 of its 1,400 restaurants.
“Specialty coffee lovers across the country have told us they want an authentic and more sophisticated espresso blend and we’ve listened,” says McCafé’s menu director, Anne Parks.
In response to the competition, Tim Hortons has made a quiet move to replace its powdered espresso-based coffees with ones that are made from freshly ground Arabica espresso beans and steamed milk. Restaurant Brands International Inc. will be purchasing $12,000-espresso machines for its Tim Hortons franchisees across Canada.
“It’s a huge shift in terms of their ability to offer premium, specialty hot-coffee products,” says Erik Thoreson, principal at Chicago-based foodservice consulting firm Technomic. “As more and more consumers get used to being able to source a barista-made specialty hot coffee, they expect to see it at more and more restaurant locations, including Tim Hortons.”
Tim Hortons has yet to confirm whether or not prices of its espresso-based coffees will be affected by the announced changes. Siddiqui responded that Tim Hortons is always looking for ways to bring its customers “great-tasting new products at a great value.”