Tim Hortons announced Monday it’s unveiling a pasta-to-go option to its menu, adding lasagna to its traditional offerings of coffee, donuts and Timbits, as well as its newer items such as soups, chili and sandwiches!
It’s a logical addition, given that the chain sold 63 million bowls of soup last year, according to Donna Finelli, Tim Hortons’ director of brand marketing
“As the hot bowl leader, our guests told us that pasta was a natural extension for us,” said Finelli in a news release.
Winning over the lunch-time crowd — with massive competitors such as McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King — is a much stiffer challenge for Tim Hortons than dominating the relatively simple breakfast market, according to Raymond James research analyst Kenric Tyghe.
“It’s a more competitive market with a much more nimble set of operators,” said Tyghe.
Another issue is getting the company’s 3,800 franchisees to buy in to what’s a more complicated, less profitable product than mainstays such as donuts and coffee, said Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business.
“There will certainly be some pushback from franchisees, because the margin isn’t as high with the lunch items. But I think the company will point out that it doesn’t matter if the margin’s as high if it’s a much bigger-ticket item,” said Middleton.
Pushing their menu into new culinary territory without alienating existing customers is a balancing act Tim Hortons seems to have mastered, says Middleton.
“One of the things Tim’s has been very good at is expanding their menu gradually,” said Middleton.
Other big chains haven’t had as much success, said Middleton.
“Tim’s has been good at it. McDonald’s hasn’t been very good. When they tried to make a big push into pizza a few years ago, it really didn’t work at all,” Middleton said.
Still, no matter how gradually or skillfully the menu-expansion is done, there are some things that wouldn’t ever work, Middleton said.
“A steak sandwich they could do. A steak dinner they couldn’t get away with. There’s no way they could ever say ‘come here tonight for a nice romantic dinner,’ ” said Middleton.
Are you on board for mor lunch items at Tim’s? It may take some getting used to for me…