breaking news Tim Hortons to enter Mumbai with two stores, Pune and Bengaluru to follow
Tim Hortons also plans to enter Bengaluru this year, where they are already identifying sites for stores, and is also considering cities like Ahmedabad down the line.
Tim Hortons is on an aggressive expansion spree in India, with its latest foray into Mumbai – its third state after Delhi and Punjab. After entering the Indian market in August with a store in Delhi, the Canadian Coffee chain has already opened 13 outlets in northern India in the NCR regions of Delhi and Punjab. The two Mumbai stores, scheduled to open May 27 in Bandra and May 28 in Andheri, will be the 14th and 15th Tim Hortons stores in the country.
Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Tim Hortons India CEO Tarun Jain said the company’s strategy is to open more in the north before expanding to other parts of the country.
“The response has been fantastic in the north. Whatever goals we set for ourselves in terms of store performance or expansion or the cities we wanted to be in, we’ve surpassed all of that and we’re now in Mumbai and we’re seeing a lot of excitement here after having announced the dates,” Jain added.
Mumbai is likely to see more stores down the line as well, but the immediate expansion of these stores will be in near-Mumbai towns like Pune by the end of this year. Tim Hortons also plans to enter Bengaluru this year, where Jain says they are already identifying sites for stores, and is also considering cities like Ahmedabad down the line.
However, Jain says they are not looking at a fixed figure in terms of number of stores for the Indian market. Further expansion will also include opening more stores across more channels in existing markets like Delhi.
Tim Hortons’ entry into Mumbai and its rapid expansion comes at a time when coffee culture is booming in the country, while competition is intensifying in the coffee chain space. Reliance Retail last month brought British coffee chain Pret A Manger to India and currently has two stores in Mumbai. Tata Starbucks has rapidly expanded its presence and has 341 stores nationwide. It also recently revamped its menu to introduce smaller and cheaper food and drink options in a bid to attract more consumers.
Meanwhile, several local coffee chains have also emerged in recent years and expanded their presence. This includes the likes of Subko, Third Wave Coffee, Blue Tokai, among others.
Jain says competition is good for a growing market and will grow the market and boost consumption. He adds that Tim Hortons will stand out for its variety and that it has also made to order fresh food available in its cafes.
Tim Hortons drinks are in the same range as rivals Tata Starbucks and Pret, while its food items start as low as Rs 39.
Like other international coffee chains that are increasingly focusing on localizing their menus, Tim Hortons is also introducing localized food options on its menus. This is in addition to the coffee chain’s world-famous items like French Vanilla Coffee, its Java Chip drink, and Timbits.
“Our learning has been that since we are an international brand, there is a set of expectations when we enter a market, a legacy that they expect from us, as well as a lot of local love to adapt to local tastes . We experimented a lot with the food, which is an ongoing process,” Jain said, adding that he wanted to be competitive on price.