Canadian expats show their loyalty to Tim Hortons in Dubai


I had to laugh over a link that a Canadian friend posted on Facebook: Tim Hortons outlet in Dubai mobbed by Canadian expats. Yes, my friend is Canadian, living and working in Dubai. And yes, she pleaded "guilty," and was there with the rest of the crowd for the opening.

I wasn't aware that the Tim Hortons chain had expanded into the Middle East. Founded in Hamilton, Ontario in 1964, the company announced earlier this year that they signed a MLA (Master License Agreement) with Apparel Group of Dubai. The agreement includes up to 120 multi-format restaurants in markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Back in 2009, Tim Hortons expanded into New York City.

In a press release issued by Tim Hortons in February 2011, President and CEO Don Schroeder stated: "Our top strategic priority is continuing to grow our Canadian and U.S. businesses which are the primary drivers of shareholder value. We also believe there is an opportunity over the long-term to explore international opportunities and seed the Tim Hortons brand in various markets outside of North America. Our approach is prudent, targeted and will minimize capital requirements while still allowing us to pursue identified international growth opportunities."

The 120 restaurants include both standard and non-traditional units. Locations will be developed and operated by Apparel in the GCC markets of United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. Five restaurants will open in 2011.

Apparel Group operates more than 50 leading international brands that include Tommy Hilfiger, Kenneth Cole, Aldo, Aeropostale, Ninewest and Cold Stone Creamery. It operates more than 600 stores in 14 countries.

Here's another story about the Dubai opening from the Toronto Star.

Tim Hortons cup in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Photo by Sue Frause

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