Tim Hortons: Celebrating 50 Years In Canada


Tim Hortons will mark its 50th anniversary this May and the company has already unveiled its new “50 Years Fresh” look to help celebrate this event.  This iconic Canadian company has reason to celebrate as it rolls in 50 years of success across Canada.

As successful as this company is today, it didn’t start out that way.  The company came from humble beginnings when it was founded in Hamilton, Ontario in 1964.  Co-founders Tim Horton and Jim Charade initially opened it up as a hamburger restaurant.  In 1967, Ron Joyce joined after Charade left and the two men started selling coffee and donuts.

The original dutchies and apple fritters were the first donuts offered by the chain and continue in popularity to the present day.

The company was known for offering low prices along with a clean and friendly atmosphere.  There was a focus on top quality, fresh product and great service and community leadership.

In 1974, Toronto Maple Leaf ice hockey legend Tim Horton was involved in a fatal car accident at 44 years of age.  Ron Joyce assumed control of the company along with widow Lori Horton and he subsequently bought out her interest in the company for $1 million in 1975.

Over the next 20 years, Tim Horton’s restaurants offered a greater variety of products and expanded its offerings to include meals for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner.  However, the company is mainly known for its coffee, baked goods and home-style lunches.

The following timeline reveals when different products were introduced at the restaurant.

1976 – timbits were introduced

1981 – value priced muffins

1982 – pies

1983 – croissants

1984 – cookies

1985 – soups & chili

1993 – sandwiches

1996 – bagels

1997 – flavored cappuccino

1998 – “Tim’s Own” sandwiches

1999 – iced cappuccino, café mocha

2005 – yogurt & berries, cinnamon roll

2006 – breakfast sandwich, chicken salad wrap

2007 – chicken fajita wrap

2014 – pretzel bagel

In 1995, Tim Horton’s merged with Wendy’s, which helped it crack the US market.  The company still kept its head office in Oakville, Ontario.  But by 2006, the company separated and completed an initial public offering to offer shares once again in Canada.

In 2003, the company adopted “par-baking” in which bakery items are partially cooked or baked at a central bakery in Brantford, Ontario.  Then, they are shipped to franchisees that can bake the final portion in specially designed ovens.

In 2009, the company formed a partnership with Coldstone Creamery but the partnership saw limited success and ended just this year.

The company’s entry into the US has not been easy as it competes with the likes of Dunkin Donuts.  In 2010, the company announced the closing of 36 stores in the Northeastern US.

In Canada, the company continues to perform well and it claims it sells nearly 8 out of 10 cups of coffee sold in Canada.  But, there is still intense competition from the likes of Starbucks and McDonalds.

Today, Tim Horton’s restaurants are everywhere.  You can find them in schools, airports, hospitals, military bases and in various neighbourhoods.

The company operates the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation that provides camps and funding for disadvantaged kids.  The company also sponsors kids who play minor hockey with the well-known “Timbits hockey” program.

The annual “Roll Up The Rim” campaign started on February 17th this year and gives consumers a chance to win prizes for vehicles, tv’s and store products.  This marketing campaign is very popular with Canadians.

As of 2012, the company had $3.1 billion in revenues, 4,264 restaurants, 96,000 franchised employees and 99% of stores were operated by franchisees.  At the end of 2013, there were 3,588 restaurants in Canada, 859 in the US and 38 in the Persian Gulf.

CEO, Mr. Caira has announced plans to expand operations outside of North America, starting with the Middle East.

Tim Horton’s is a company that has been very successful in Canada but has yet to gain a stronghold in the US.  Can this strong Canadian company expand in the US?

Well, the company continues to test the US market out with kiosks designed to gather attention and sales.  Also, the Middle East is looking promising for the company as well.

This May, Canadians across the country can be proud of and celebrate a truly iconic company: Tim Hortons.



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