Canada’s Tim Hortons plans big UK expansion

The coffee and donut chain will create about 2,000 jobs as it opens more drive-thru locations across the country

Canadian coffee and donut chain Tim Hortons is planning a big UK expansion that will create about 2,000 jobs.

It will open drive-outlets in every major city and town over the next two years, starting with Milton Keynes.

Tim Hortons first launched in the UK in 2017 with a branch in Glasgow, followed by Belfast, Manchester and the Midlands. It now has 23 sites including seven drive-thrus.

Kevin Hydes, chief commercial officer of Tim Hortons UK and Ireland, said: “Despite challenging times for the sector, our drive-thru and flagship locations have delivered exceptional performance and our model is proving to be well attuned to the evolving needs of customers at this time.”

The pandemic had caused a spike in demand for drive-thru service, he said. “Having completed our testing of a number of formats, we feel this is a real opportunity for us.”

Tim Hortons said it was looking for sites suitable for drive-thru branches. Coffee shop chains including Pret have seen demand disappear as Britons worked from home over the pandemic.

The trend looks set to continue after Boris Johnson’s recent advice to work from home until March 2021.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s said limited edition celebrity meals from the likes of rapper Travis Scott helped the fast food chain to return to growth in the US.

Drive-thru and delivery also helped its sales rise 4.6pc in the third quarter. 

Travis Scott launches his eponymous meal at a McDonald's branch in Downey, California last month

However, global like-for-like sales were down 2.2pc, with declines in the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Latin America and China. Australia and Japan - where the virus has been more under control - remained in the black. 

The burger chain has invested heavily in digital service such as in-store touchscreens that have benefited it since the start of the pandemic.