Winners & Losers: Tim Hortons goes dark while Staples sees red

There’s no easy button for this problem


 Tim Hortons

A brooding anti-hero for our time

Humphrey Bogart looking suave, holding a Tim Hortons coffee beside a skating rink

For the first time ever, you’ll be able to sound mildly suave ordering coffee from Tim Hortons. Saunter up to the counter at 5 a.m. before your kid’s hockey practice and lowly intone, “I’ll have a double double. [Long pause. Put on sunglasses.] Make it dark.” That’s because Canada’s dominant coffee chain introduced a new dark roast this week, its first alternative blend in 50 years. The company conducted research and found that even though Tim’s serves nearly 8 out of every 10 cups of coffee in this country, Canadians still enjoy other brews occasionally. The new dark blend is crucial for Tim Hortons to drive sales and fight off competition. With so much Tim Hortons coffee already coursing through the veins of Canadians, this country is looking saturated. Growth in the U.S., meanwhile, has proven difficult. Tim Hortons hopes the dark blend, which is part of a wider menu shake-up, will appeal to the Starbucks crowd and offer better value. And now that there’s an alternative to the classic blend, lovers of Tim Hortons are one step closer to experiencing what actual coffee tastes like.


The paperless office claims another victim

Staples Easy Button with the word Hard humourously substituted

People just aren’t printing out covers for their TPS reports like they used to. Staples, the office supply store announced this week that it will be shutting down 140 stores across Canada and the U.S. as businesses and consumers alike spend less on printers, toner, and ink. Competition from online juggernaut Amazon is also eating into the company’s sales. Reducing its footprint will ultimately allow Staples to save money and invest more into its online retail operation, which saw an 8% boost in revenue in the last quarter. Despite the company’s problems, it’s at least selling more office furniture and break room supplies. Staples CEO Ron Sargent admitted the company has a lot more work to do to stabilize its retail operations. Earlier today, Sargent was said to be sidling up to employees’ cubicles and telling them he’s going to need them to go ahead and come in tomorrow. That would be great.

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5 comments on “Winners & Losers: Tim Hortons goes dark while Staples sees red

  1. Tim Horton’s just doesn’t get it. They could easily improve their operations and revenues by making a very simple business decision –
    hire more competent staff, train them better, give better customer service which includes FASTER service and stop stop, hiring young students who are only concerned about flaunting a weekly pay cheque . And if they dropped some useless items on their menu maybe we could get it an out in under 15 minutes. Disgusting company driven only by greed and a need for “mo’ money” at the expense of the basics. I have stopped buying anything fro them mainly because I feel “raped” that the extra small cup was purposely phased out to we’d have to “buy-up” to small for another dime. Pathetic.

  2. I tried the dark roast at Tim’s and the quality just wasn’t there. No true STARBUCKS drinker is going to go for it.

  3. It will be interesting to see how the new blend does. It would also be interesting to see where the dark roast blend does best.

    Where is each blend is strongest. In our studies, we definitely found regional strengths for the major coffee QSRs (McDonald’s Starbucks, Tim Hortons). Here is the data if you want to see it.

  4. David, you really don’t receive copies of the previous letters. As the letters go forward that variety could be in the hundreds. But if there’s a particular letter send us an email and maybe we can figure something out.