First, let me congratulate you on the enormous, if somewhat unwarranted, popularity of your coffee-and-doughnuts chain. I very much enjoy your sour cream-glazed pastries, especially when nuked for about 30 seconds and paired with anything but your coffee.
That said, after visiting several of New Zealand’s ubiquitous roadside cafes, I feel many of the products and services available at these independent establishments could be implemented across the Tim Hortons chain to great effect. With that in mind, here are six New Year's resolutions I suggest for your brand:
- Offer eel feeding: I know you’re always looking to create memorable customer experiences, and I now know that nothing is more memorable than feeding tame eels from the verdant banks of a shimmering brook. Of course, not every Tim Hortons location is as picturesque and pastoral as that of the Jester House Cafe near Nelson, NZ, but surely some kind of aquarium set-up could do the trick? Plus, I’m pretty sure the Jester’s $2-a-cup eel food is identical to your chicken salad.
- Go gluten-free: Incredibly, not a single one of your myriad baked items is gluten-free. Walk into any NZ cafe, and several GF options are usually available, clearly labeled, and delicious to boot. Try the caramel squares and thank me later.
- More for the kids: Do children enjoy Timbits and hot chocolate? Did Mr. Horton like to drop the gloves? Yet, you make little or no effort to entertain the little ones. At the Jester, on the other hand, there’s a veritable enchanted forest of whimsical play structures, wooden musical instruments, and even a “borrow-a-tail” dress-up station. Any one of these features would be hugely appreciated by parents and kids alike, while the latter would appeal to the Harajuku crowd you are always trying to entice.
- Serve drinky-drinks: All the NZ cafes I’ve visited offer a pleasing variety of local microbrews and wines. ‘Nuff said.
- Bring me my food: I’m not suggesting you hire servers. Rather, instead of taking my order and tempting me to watch the unnerving preparation of my chicken salad sandwich, why not do as Kiwi cafes do and simply hand me a number on a stick so I can wait at my table? Fewer angry mobs at the pickup counter, fewer bleary-eyed customers spilling their heavily-laden trays, it’s all good.
- Offer overnight accommodations: You know that guy who spends 14 hours a day in your Kinmount location? Why not give him the option to spend the night? Now, I doubt the Jester’s fairytale-boot lodgings would appeal to every Timmy’s customer, but maybe a hockey puck- or Timbit-shaped room would suffice? Combine this with some gluten-free treats, a gigantic wooden snail, a few local microbrews and a modest school of hungry eels, and you simply can’t lose.
Once these resolutions are adopted, I will require two types of compensation for my consulting services: A lifetime supply of the Licorice Cafe's caramel squares; and a written guarantee that Tim Hortons will never, ever, expand to New Zealand.