Tim Hortons

From Academic Kids

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Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons (written without an apostrophe) is the largest coffee and doughnut chain in Canada. It is well-known for its coffee, doughnuts, Timbits, soups, and sandwiches. The chain is an integral part of Canadian culture.

Tim Hortons stores are plentiful in Canadian cities and towns. The chain has expanded aggressively across urban Canada and also into small rural towns. There are over 2,350 outlets in Canada and over 220 in the United States.



The first "Tim Horton" (later with the [s]) store opened in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario. The business was founded by Tim Horton, who played in the National Hockey League from 1949 until his untimely death in a car accident in 1974. Soon after Horton opened the store, he met and partnered with Ron Joyce, a former Hamilton police constable. Upon Horton's death, Joyce bought out the Horton family and took over as sole owner of the existing chain of forty stores. Joyce expanded the chain quickly and aggressively in geography and in product selection, opening the 500th store in Aylmer, Quebec, in 1991.

Tim Hortons' aggressive expansion resulted in two major changes in the coffee and doughnut restaurant market: independent doughnut shops in Canada were virtually eliminated and Canada's per-capita ratio of doughnut shops surpassed all other world nations[1] (

In 1995, Tim Hortons' popularity had spilled over to American investors and Tim's merged with the American fast-food giant, Wendy's under the name Wendy's International, Inc. The resulting subsidiary company managing Tim Hortons stores was named The TDL Group. This company currently oversees all Tim Hortons stores from its head office in Oakville, Ontario, with over $800 million in sales in 2003. [2] ( The merger with Wendy's facilitated Tim Hortons' expansion into the United States, with stores in New York, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Maine. By 2004, the chain had also aquired 42 Bess Eaton coffee and doughnut restaurants situated in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Advertising and promotion

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A Tim Hortons shop in Ottawa, Ontario

Tim Hortons has one of the most successful marketing operations in Canada. Due to its powerful and effective branding, "Tim's", or even more colloquially "Timmy's" or "Timmies", has established itself in the top class of fast-food restaurants in Canada and in the heart of Canadian culture.

Tim Hortons commercials appear frequently on Canadian television stations, mostly "True Stories" spots about real Canadians who drink Tim's coffee. Tim Hortons' slogans are "Always Fresh" and "You've Always Got Time For Tim Hortons".

Roll up the Rim to Win

From March until May of each year, Tim Hortons holds its Roll up the Rim to Win contest, with over twenty million prizes available. Customers determine if they have won prizes by unrolling the rim on their paper coffee cup when they have finished their drink, revealing their luck underneath. A vehicle is always up for grabs, and now 20 cars can be won each year. Advertising for the contest has been quite effective; past contests' television commercials have been very popular, and "R-r-roll up the r-r-im to win" (with rolled R's) is now a well-known (and well-practiced) phrase.


The store also promotes itself through community support and the "Tim Hortons Children Foundation". Founded by Ron Joyce, the Foundation sponsors many thousands of underprivileged Canadian children to go to one of six high-class summer camps. Local owners also donate to various community organizations, such as young children's sports teams.

A Canadian cultural icon

Doughnut shops are an important part of Canadian daily life, and as the leading chain in Canada Tim Hortons has begun branding itself as a part of the Canadian identity. There are many examples of the importance of doughnut shops and of Tim Hortons in everyday life.

  • The Canadian Oxford Dictionary recently added the phrase "double double" to its publication. It means "double cream, double sugar," a choice so common that the shorthand evolved into Canadian tongue. This term was in use before Tim Hortons was established, however, and probably before any doughnut shop was established.
  • In the movie Wayne's World, characters hang out at a doughnut shop called Stan Mikita's. The name is an in-joke for Canadians; Mikita was another NHL player and the name makes an implicit reference to Tim Hortons.
  • In 1999, Steve Penfold, a history graduate student at York University in Toronto, wrote his thesis on the sociological aspects of the Tim Hortons shops. For that, he received the 1999 Ig Nobel Prize in Sociology.

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