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dna exclusive: Canadian cafe chain Tim Hortons plans India foray

Friday, 27 December 2013 - 8:07am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Tim Hortons, the largest quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain in Canada, is planning to enter the Indian market.

According to people familiar with the development, Tim Hortons has been scouting for a franchisee partner.

“Over the last 4-5 months the Canadian cafe chain has been speaking to several people regarding a franchise agreement. They are yet to finalise on a partner but talks are in progress,” said a person privy to the development.

A global retail consultant working with several global cafe majors too confirmed that Tim Hortons has been looking for an India partner.

Another industry official also familiar with the development said the company is likely to adopt a similar franchisee strategy it did while entering Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations.

“They tied up with Apparel FZCO and the Dubai-based Apparel to expand in the Gulf market, so its likely that in the Indian market too they will be looking at a big franchisee partner of similar strength and standing.”

However, in an email response, the company said it did not have any plans at this time to expand into India.

Tim Hortons officials had earlier mentioned in 2010 that going ahead they will be looking at exploring new markets such as India and China, but will enter when they have a detailed plan chalked out.

Considering that the sales in the developed markets such as the US have been under tremendous pressure, it is not surprising that cafe chains are looking at nascent market, said retail experts.

Since the Indian cafe market is slowly becoming bigger, more players have been evaluating an India entry. The organised (or upmarket) Indian cafe market is estimated to have notched up sales of Rs1,246 crore in 2012 and the the figure is expected to bubble up to Rs2,222 crore by 2017, as per Technopak estimates.

Tim Hortons has 4,350 cafes across the world, out of which 3,500 are in Canada, 817 in the US and 33 in GCC.  The Toronto Stock Exchange listed company recorded revenues of $794 million and net profit of $111 million in the September quarter.

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