Canadian chain Tim Hortons is planning an expansion in the UK that will create about 2,000 jobs.
Despite, seeing a collapse in sales, the company known for its coffee and doughnuts, is hoping to capitalise on the rising demand for drive-through dining brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Tim Hortons said it will open drive-outlets in “every major city and town” over the next two years, starting with Milton Keynes.
Chief commercial officer of Tim Hortons UK and Ireland, Kevin Hydes, told the Telegraph: “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 brand, owned by fast food giant Restaurant Brands International (RBI), has 23 locations in the UK after it first launched in 2017 with branches in Glasgow, Belfast, Manchester and the Midlands. It had 937 chains outside Canada as of June.
RBI (QSR), which operates more than 27,000 restaurants globally through a franchise model, also owns fast food chains Burger King and Popeye’s Chicken.
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Sales at Tim Hortons’ 4,900 global sites fell by more than 30% in the quarter to July, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While sales at parent company RBI saw a 20% decline in that same period, as lockdown forced many locations to close or restrict their offerings.
But, despite the upheaval caused by the pandemic, RBI has been pushing to expand its portfolio especially outside the US and Canada.
In August, chief executive Jose Cil told investors: “We cannot predict exactly when the dust will settle, but we’re confident that we will be well positioned to capitalise on opportunities for growth as we emerge from the crisis and continue toward the 40,000 restaurant goal we talked about last year.”
The move comes at a time when the UK’s hospitality sector has been reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month, Costa Coffee announced plans to cut up to 1,650 jobs in response to the COVID-19 crisis, saying it would “streamline” its operations in response to the “high levels of uncertainty as to when trade will recover to pre-COVID levels.”
Meanwhile, Pret a Manger also announced that it would close 30 of its outlets and axe around 2,800 roles at the coffee and sandwich chain, almost triple the number of expected job cuts. It cited the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a huge drop-off in sales.