They like us, they really like us!

Well, they like Tim Hortons coffee anyway. And its decor and service, too, according to the latest survey of fast food chains from Zagat.

The restaurant guide ranked Canada’s most popular coffee and donut chain fifth overall in the “quick refreshments” category for 2012, the first time the chain made the top five, and up from 22nd spot last year. Tim Hortons also took fifth spot for service and decor.

Ahead of Timmies in the rankings were Caribou Coffee, in first place, followed by Rita’s Italian Ice, Peet’s Coffee/Tea and Culver’s.

Mike Meilleur, executive vice president for Tim Hortons U.S., said in a statement the company was “flattered” by its inclusion on the list, and that the listing was “an outstanding recognition” for the chain’s restaurant owners and workers.

In my opinion, they’re definitely gaining recognition,” Edward Jones Co. restaurant analyst Brian Yarbrough told Bloomberg News. “Is that the coffee? Is that the ice coffees and the smoothies and food all combined? But definitely, when you’re putting up some of the best sales numbers in the industry I’ve got to believe you’re gaining some share.”

Tim Hortons has been expanding aggressively in the U.S. in recent years, opening a much-publicized Times Square location in 2009, and the chain now has more than 700 stores south of the border, located mostly in the northwest and midwest.

In Canada, the chain boasts of controlling 62 per cent of the coffee market.

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  • 24 Oz. Cup

    Tim Hortons' <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/16/tim-hortons-releases-larger-cup-coffee_n_1208677.html" target="_hplink">extra-large 24 oz. cup of coffee</a> might be enough for the amateur coffee drinkers, but we're holding our breath until they roll out a keg. <em>Photo credit: Tim Hortons Inc. </em>

  • Espresso-Based Coffees

    Tim Hortons went head-to-head with Starbucks for coffee market domination when it started <a href="http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1079694--tim-hortons-to-offer-real-espresso-at-2-a-cup" target="_hplink">serving up espresso-based coffees</a>, including lattes, mocha lattes and cappuccinos for around $2 or less. <a href="http://www.torontolife.com/daily/daily-dish/caffeine-high/2011/11/16/tim-hortons-espresso-stuart-ross/" target="_hplink">How do they taste</a>? Well, they cost $2. <em>Photo credit: Tim Hortons Inc. </em>

  • Lasagna

    "Would you like some lasagna with your coffee?" we <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/10/17/tim-hortons-lasagna_n_1016236.html" target="_hplink">asked</a> back in October. Overwhelmingly, the answer was "No," followed by "ewwww." <em>Photo credit: Lisa Yeung</em>

  • Real Fruit Smoothies

    The health craze is lost on some of us, and according to <a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/05/02/smoothie-operator/" target="_hplink">many</a> <a href="http://www.avivaallen.com/General/tim-hortons-real-fruit-smoothies-buyer-beware.html" target="_hplink">many reviews</a>, Tim Hortons didn't quite get it right either when it introduced its Real Fruit Smoothies.

  • Double Double Ice Cream

    "I'll take two creams and two sugars. And hurry, before it melts!" Timmies teamed up with Cold Stone Creamery to concoct the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/08/30/tim-hortons-double-double_n_941875.html" target="_hplink">Double Double ice cream flavour</a> back in August, effectively combining one addiction with another.


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  • 5 Facts About Roll Up The Rim To Win

    Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

  • Biggest Prize In Its First Year: Timbits

    When Timmies launched Roll Up The Rim in 1986 as a "thank-you" to customers, the largest prize was a snack box of Timbits. Needless to say, the contest has grown in scope since then. Photo: Flickr/Calgary Reviews

  • Uneven Prize Distribution

    If you live on Prince Edward Island, your chances of winning a Roll Up The Rim prize are considerably better than if you live in Ontario. That's because Tim Hortons spreads prizes across the country according to geography, not population density. "<a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2006/03/15/timhortons-060315.html" target="_hplink">If it was all equalized, some places like P.E.I. or New Brunswick might not get one at all</a>," a Timmies rep said. "This is just about trying to create some excitement." Photo: Flickr/n_wilsey

  • Roll Up The Rim: Kandahar Edition

    Until last year, Timmies' famous promotion extended to its location in Afghanistan, which the company set up to serve Canadian soldiers. The Afghan version of the promo featured its own set of prizes, but Tim Hortons' presence in Agfhanistan has <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/11/24/tim-hortons-pulls-out-of-kandahar_n_1111974.html" target="_hplink">come to a close with Canada's reduced role in the war</a>. Photo: Canadian troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan line up for donuts and coffee at Tim Hortons, Thursday Jun 29, 2006. (CP PHOTO/ John Cotter)

  • Only 56 Per Cent Can RRRoll Up The RRRim

    According to a study commissioned by Tim Hortons, <a href="http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/780275/tim-hortons-roll-up-the-rim-to-win-celebrates-25-years-with-better-odds-one-in-six-chances-and-more-prizes-than-ever" target="_hplink">only 56 per cent of Canadians can roll their r's like the Timmies commercials show</a>. Only one in five can hold a rolled 'r' for more than 15 seconds, and men appear to be better at it than women. (Alamy photo)

  • 387 Million Prizes In 25 Years

    As one of the country's longest-running promotions, Roll Up the Rim has handed out some 387 million prizes since its launch. Says Bill Moir,Tim Hortons' chief brand and marketing officer: "Roll Up the Rim to Win is not only an important part of Tim Hortons' history, it has become an annual Canadian tradition." Photo: Tim Hortons President and CEO Donald B. Schroeder speaks at the company's AGM in Toronto on May 13, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn