Much of that “clear view” Cil referred to relates to technological enhancements.
Cil acknowledged Tim Hortons has fallen behind in the industry when it comes to brewing technology. In response, the company started to introduce fresh brewers and water filtration systems at each Canadian unit, a process that will accelerate this year. The new technology is in place at more than 2,000 stores and has received positive feedback from customers, Cil noted.
Similar to the brewing technology, Cil said the brand’s drive thru—featured at more than 2,600 locations across Canada—is not up to par. Based off data showing drive-thru growth outpacing the front counter, Tim Hortons plans to install outdoor digital menus at most locations via an investment of $100 million (in Canadian dollars) from the Tim Hortons Canada Ad Fund. Cil said that with digital boards, the brand will save millions on printed menus, and offerings can be tailored to location, time of day, and weather. The installation will take place in the next year to year and a half. The digital boards are at more than 100 stores right now, and operators have reported better sales and speed of service.
Like many other chains, Tim Hortons is also tweaking its rewards program to promote more customer engagement. The brand is approaching it in two phases. The first phase, which included a free coffee or baked good after seven visits—brought in 7.5 million active loyalty members and a registration rate of 25 percent. The second phase will utilize more of the menu and personalized offers based on purchase history. It will shift from a visits incentive to a points incentive where customers can redeem points after a number of purchases. In addition to the revamped rewards program, Cil announced Tim Hortons will update the Roll Up the Rim program to drive digital activation and guest registration.
“We expect that loyalty will continue to be a drag on sales for the coming several quarters as we convert loyalty guests to registered loyalty guests and start deploying incremental offers at scale,” Cil said. “We'll be delivering a more personalized experience to our guests that should bring more benefits and generate incremental sales in the latter part of 2020 and beyond.”
Alongside the boosted technology, the brand will incorporate changes to its menu. Tim Hortons will begin offering non-dairy alternatives, upgrade the taste, texture, and quality of the bacon in its Bacon Breakfast Sandwich, and improve the bread carriers for its breakfast sandwiches. Customers should also expect an updated flavor for the chain’s iced coffee, as the chain has developed a new method of preparation that is scheduled to roll out soon.