TORONTO — People craving a jolt of caffeine in the Philippines may soon be able to order a double-double at their local Tim Hortons. Restaurant Brands International, the multinational owner and operator of Tim Hortons and Burger King, said Thursday it has partnered with a group of investors to establish a master franchise joint venture company to sell the fast-food chain's coffee and doughnuts in the Southeast Asian country. RBI chose the Philippines for its first stop in Southeast Asia because the country has a strong economy and a fast-growing quick-service market, said CEO Daniel Schwartz. A Tim Hortons coffee shop in downtown Toronto, on Wednesday, June 29, 2016. (Photo: The Canadian Press/Eduardo Lima) The Philippines also boasts "a population that has an affinity for coffee and baked goods," Schwartz added, including those of Tim Hortons's, the company determined after months of market research. RBI didn't say how many shops it plans to open in the Philippines. But chief financial officer Joshua Kobza said, "We aim to be a leader in the market." Kobza hinted Tim Hortons would aim to match the level of some of its rivals in the local market — many of which boast hundreds of restaurants in the country, he said. The stores will serve many of the same staples as Canadian locations, like Timbits and iced capps, as well as some surprises, he added. "You'll have a mix of the kind of products that we know and love here in Canada and some new products." The skyline of Manila, Philippines. (Photo: Spaces Images via Getty Images) But details about any new offerings likely won't be divulged until the first Philippines location opens, which Kobza and Schwartz said will open as soon as possible. RBI views Tim Hortons's expansion to the Philippines as a gateway into other markets within the sub-region and other parts of the continent, noted Schwartz. Since Tim Hortons and Burger King merged into RBI in late 2014, the company's been focused on taking the master franchise joint venture model that's proved successful for Burger King and applying it to help Tim Hortons grow globally. "We think it's a great opportunity," Schwartz said. More international expansion announcements are expected from the company in the future, but all Schwartz will say is, "Stay tuned." The restaurant chain has 4,438 restaurants, not including its 411 limited-service kiosks, as of March 31, 2016, the company's latest quarterly report said. According to Tim Hortons's 2015 annual report (when it had 25 fewer locations), the majority of those stores are in Canada, with 14.7 per cent in the U.S. and 2.6 per cent in the Middle East.
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