Yes yes... When you say "upscale", I hear "expensive" through my reality-translator. You know, the same coffee but at 5 times the price -except now there's a fireplace in the restaurant!! Wow, what a deal!! (What's that symbol for sarcasm again?)
Here's the story (from the Toronto Star):
Tim Hortons to boost outlets, test drive upscale U.S. format
Tim Hortons is preparing to test drive a new upscale restaurant format in the United States and broaden its North American product line as part of a three-year expansion plan that will include the opening of about 900 new stores.
In the U.S., 300 new stores will open, primarily in markets in New York, Ohio and Michigan. Of the existing 563 locations, 10 will be revamped as part of a pilot project for upscale locations, featuring "enhanced finishes, fixtures and seating areas."
And here's another story from our friends down south (NY Daily News):
Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons plans menu expansion to compete with Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts
Tim Hortons is brewing up a fresh strategy to take on Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts.Yes yes, in 4 years it'll be completely different.. Definitely no more medium double-dub for $1.55.. More like some BS "Grande" for $6.70...
The big Canadian coffee chain said Friday it would open hundreds of new cafés, including in New York City, that break the mold of Tim's iconic coffee shops north of the border.
Tim Hortons currently has 3,015 shops in Canada and 563 in the U.S. Those numbers pale compared with Starbucks, which has more than 11,000 outlets in the U.S. alone, and Dunkin' Donuts, which has 6,400 in its home market.
Rather than sticking with a format that has become a part of Canadian culture, Tim's said it would open what it described as "redesigned upscale café/bake shops" that feature a menu that differs from the Canadian fare, including pastries baked on premises.
"The bottom line is that the Tim Hortons you know today will be dramatically different in four years from now," CEO Don Schroeder said.
Mark my words.. You heard it here first!
You know what, right now Timmy's is perfect price-wise... Canadians were already up-in-arms when they raised the price of the coffee a few pennies.. Wait till they follow through with their undercover plan.. Then we'll see what happens...
You know the plan:
- Announce Expansion including new "upscale" format
- Release the "upscale" expansion with new higher upscale prices
- Slowly start "converting" all existing Timmys to the new format (with the conversion applying mainly to the prices, and not necessarily to the actual restaurant décor)
- All Timmys now charge Upscale prices for the same coffee
I know when the prices go up to the Starbucks level, they're going to lose my business...
And I think that CEO Don Schroeder is far too optimistic that we're all so hooked on Timmy's, that we'll pay whatever the price is to get it..
He's in for a big surprise when it happens, I'm sure..
I think one of the commenters on the NY Daily News story had it bang-on:
twophrasebark (Mar 6, 2010 6:34:27 AM):And I thought I'd also show you this one other comment from another commenter on the NY Daily News site... It definitely brought a smile to my face...
I hear Canadians rave about Tim Hortons. Why would you change a formula that works so well? This executive does not sound like he knows what he is doing. Don't mess with success, buddy.
Carmaelle (Mar 6, 2010 11:38:33 AM):Classic! :) (Come on, I know you're smiling!)
Canada makes sure to keep a limit on the movement of U.S. brands taking over Canadian brands up there, they even limit coverage of US artists and TV shows to make sure Canadian shows and artists are highlighted. Now they want to try and take over from our U.S. brands down here?? No thank you. I will patronize Dunkin Donuts over Tim Horton's always. And even moreso after the Olympic hockey game. They got the gold but they won't get my business.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/buffawhat/4204348761/sizes/l/ (Tim's Building by Buffawhat on flickr)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/zappowbang/454688923/sizes/l/ (12 Cups by zappowbang on flickr))