After acquiring and digesting both Popeye's and Burger King and thus gaining a much larger foothold in the U.S. fast food market, the parent of iconic Canadian brand Tim Hortons (Restaurant Brands international) is setting its strategic sights on China. But right now marketers aren't all that interested in the fast food part of the business. It's Chinese coffee drinkers they are after.
Unsurprisingly, Starbucks is the market leader and "first mover" with more than 3,300 locations, but China is a vast place filled with increasing numbers of people able to afford luxury goods like decent coffee. Marketers at Tim Hortons plan on offering a beverage menu that is very similar to the one they offer in Canada (which has a lot of Chinese transplants, by the way), but the food will have to be tailored to local and regional tastes.
Will the company's signature sugary doughnut be on the menu? Perhaps some market research will need to be conducted by Tim Hortons before answering that question, and surely this is precisely what marketers at the growing company are doing. Coffee is catching on in China, a place that overwhelmingly prefers tea, with the product category expected to outpace the broader food-service category in that country for the next several years; and so opportunities for growth appear to be limitless. The parent company is already growing Burger King's presence in China with almost 1,000 locations at present, and who knows, perhaps an expansion of Popeye's will be next. The Tim Hortons brand has yet to expand in any meaningful way here in the U.S., and so perhaps this is also in the works. Indeed, marketers have three global brands with almost infinite possibilities.
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