BUSINESS

Tim Hortons' U.S. Stores Finally Seeing 'Momentum'

04/28/2015 06:00 EDT | Updated 04/29/2015 12:59 EDT

After years of resistance, Americans seem to finally be embracing Tim Hortons.

Restaurant Brands International Inc., parent company to Tim Hortons and Burger King, posted its first quarter sales results on Monday showing pick-up for Tim's with U.S. customers, despite falling short of analyst expectations.

“We are really encouraged by Tim Hortons’ sales momentum in the U.S.,” Restaurant Brands’ chief financial officer Josh Kobza told the Financial Post in an interview.

He explained stronger sales numbers are key to help make the company more attractive to franchisees. “That is what is really going to enable us to accelerate the pace of growth of the Tim Hortons brand in the U.S.,” he said.

Kobza told The Globe and Mail that a new budgeting process is helping to cut costs as well.

But the company doesn't credit its sales strength to its Timbits or double-doubles. The company chalks up its success to its lunch offerings, like the crispy chicken club sandwich, and the launch of its new dark roast coffee.

Branded as a “cafe and bake shop” in the U.S., the company’s stronger foothold in America comes at a time when fast food corporations are facing minimum wage protests and increasingly health-conscious diners.

An American expansion hasn’t always been easy for Tim Hortons. In 2010, the company shuttered 38 American stores and 18 kiosks in New England.

Then-president and CEO Don Schroeder said the retreat was the first time in the company’s history that it decided to give up in a market where pickup was slow. Its main competitors included Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks.

Tim Hortons was bought by Burger King last year. Right after the merger, parent company Restaurant Brands posted a net loss of US$514.2 million in the fourth quarter. Executives explained the revenue loss was due to merger expenses.

Restaurant Brands operates over 19,000 fast food franchises around the world.

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