At this point, if you're a national restaurant chain without a strong digital loyalty program in the works, you're behind the game.
— Erika Adams
Tim Hortons may serve upwards of seven out of every ten cups of coffee sold in Canada, but it’s still got a long ways to go before replicating that success in the U.S. market. To help build up its American consumer base, it’s turning towards what many restaurant chains are leaning into this year: a new, digitally-native loyalty program.
The terms are simple. Once every seven visits, diners will be able to redeem a reward for a free coffee, hot tea, or select baked goods. Customers can opt into the loyalty program through Tim Hortons app, a separate digital card that can be downloaded on Android or iOS devices, or, yes, physical loyalty cards that can be picked up in any restaurant location.
“Our guests deserve a rewards program as a thank you for their loyalty,” Shawn Thompson, president of Tim Hortons U.S., said in a statement. “We’re offering both a reusable card and a digital friendly card on the Tim Hortons app so that it’s extremely easy for our guests to use over and over again.”
The U.S. launch comes weeks after Tim Hortons unveiled the program to its Canadian consumers. Michael Hancock, the chain’s chief operating officer, told Canadian media outlet The Financial Post that the loyalty program tests were the longest thing Tim Hortons had ever worked on. “We wanted to make sure we got this launch right,” Hancock said at the time.
Tim Hortons parent company Restaurant Brands International noted on its most recent earnings call that the chain saw loyalty adoption rates as high as 30 percent in test markets ahead of the national rollouts.