Tim Hor­tons owner eyes U.S. ex­pan­sion

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION - ALEKSANDRA SAGAN

TORONTO — The par­ent com­pany of Tim Hor­tons and Burger King sees fer­tile ground for rapid ex­pan­sion for both chains in the United States, re­gard­less of un­cer­tainty around what poli­cies Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will im­ple­ment dur­ing his ten­ure.

The United States is “one of the big­gest op­por­tu­ni­ties” for ex­pand­ing the cof­fee and burger chains, Daniel Schwartz, CEO of Res­tau­rant Brands In­ter­na­tional Inc., said in an in­ter­view.

Tim Hor­tons had 683 U.S. lo­ca­tions as of Dec. 31, 2016, ac­cord­ing to fi­nan­cial doc­u­ments. Burger King’s U.S. op­er­a­tions had more than 7,000 restau­rants as of Dec. 31, 2015, ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent fil­ing that sep­a­rates the States from other mar­kets.

Schwartz said Tim Hor­tons “should be many, many times our cur­rent size” there, but added there’s no tar­get num­ber.

He said that the plan has not changed since Trump’s elec­tion in Novem­ber or sev­eral con­tro­ver­sial ex­ec­u­tive or­ders that the pres­i­dent has signed since mov­ing into the White House in Jan­uary.

“We want to ex­pand our brands all around the world and that also doesn’t change based on the po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment,” Schwartz said.

RBI is also in­tent on rapidly ex­pand­ing Tim Hor­tons around the world, sign­ing three sep­a­rate master fran­chise joint ven­ture agree­ments to bring the chain to the Philip­pines, Great Bri­tain and Mex­ico. The com­pany ex­pects to open the first lo­ca­tions in some of those mar­kets this year, said chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Josh Kobza.

Schwartz is the lat­est head of a ma­jor Cana­dian com­pany to of­fer in­sight on how they view Trump’s elec­tion, with many see­ing his ex­pected poli­cies as pos­i­tive for their bot­tom lines.

Last week, the CEOs of Air Canada and WestJet Air­lines both ex­pressed hope that the air­line in­dus­try in Canada could ben­e­fit from Trump’s poli­cies.

WestJet CEO Gregg Saret­sky said un­cer­tainty around new U.S. bor­der poli­cies could in­crease for­eign tourist in­ter­est in Canada.

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