At the end of 2015, Tim Hortons had a total of 4,413 quick-service restaurant franchise locations, including 3,660 in Canada, 650 in the US, and 113 in the Middle East.
Tim Hortons has experienced different levels of success in its three country locations. In Canada, the franchise overtook McDonald’s as the country’s largest food service company and accounts for 76% of the Canadian market for baked goods and 62% of the Canadian coffee market.
Stiff competition in the US
However, the Canadian coffee chain has not caught on as quickly in the US where it faces tough competition from the likes of Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts who have already cornered the market.
Tim Hortons closed 36 stores in the Northeast region of the US citing competition from Dunkin Donuts and Au Bon Pain. In 2015, the company underwent further downsizing and closed 27 stores in New York and Maine due to poor sales performance. It was later purchased by Burger King for $11.4bn in 2014, creating Restaurant Brands International headquartered in Oakville, Ontario.
High hopes for UK market
The company believes that UK holds a lot of potential of catching on with British consumers.
"This deal is part of our growth plan to take the iconic Tim Horton’s brand around the world," Restaurant Brands International CEO Daniel Schwartz said in a statement. "Great Britain is an attractive QSR market with a strong and growing coffee culture so it is a natural fit for the brand."
The UK has embraced big chain coffee with Starbucks and Café Nero accounting for 53% of the market share for branded coffee chains, according to data from Allegra World Coffee Portal.
However, artisan coffee shops have shown increasing popularity as consumers demand more product transparency and sustainably sourced ingredients.
Tim Hortons has also addressed this consumer demand for transparency through its partnership program to provide its network of over 4,000 coffee farmers in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, and Honduras, with the skill and tools to succeed in the market place and empower the communities in which they live.
Tim Hortons did not say when or how many stores it plans to open in the UK.