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Aug 19, 2019

Tim Hortons parent eyes global growth, despite trade uncertainty

Consumers 'want transparency' in food and beverages: Restaurant Brands CEO

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The chief executive of Tim Hortons’ parent, Restaurant Brands International Inc., is not concerned ongoing trade tension between the U.S. and China will disrupt his company’s international expansion strategy.

“We feel great about our business internationally,” Restaurant Brands CEO Jose Cil told BNN Bloomberg in an interview Monday. “We take a (long-term) view as owners of this business.”

“Things will change. From time to time we’ve seen ups and downs from a macroeconomic standpoint, as well as from a political standpoint; things might change from time to time.”

Restaurant Brands – which is the parent company for Burger King and Popeyes, in addition to Tim Hortons – continues to eye new markets for its restaurants. Cil was particularly pleased with Tim Hortons’ performance in its first foray into China earlier this year.

“We’ve seen a lot of success in China with the recent openings that are, I think, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 15-to-16 restaurants in Shanghai,” Cil said.

“We’ve been able to adapt the food menu and doughnut offering locally to make sure we address the (customers’) needs. We’re excited about the expansion possibilities.”

The company said in May it intends to expand to more than 40,000 locations worldwide in the next eight to 10 years. Cil praised Tim Hortons’ performance in the U.K. and its recent expansion into Thailand, while also noting that Popeyes has recently moved into Brazil, the Philippines and will soon have a footprint in Spain.

Closer to home, the parent company has butted heads with Tim Hortons franchisees in Canada and the U.S., facing various lawsuits from disgruntled store owners, but Cil praised “progress” the company had made in repairing the frayed relationships.

“We continue to work closely with our restaurant owners in Canada,” Cil said. “We think that’s the most important piece of this business is that it’s a partnership between restaurant owners and the brand, all aimed at trying to grow our excitement and relationships with our guests and to grow restaurant profitability.”

“The relationship that we have today with our restaurant owners in Canada is critical to that success and we continue to believe we’re making really good progress on that front.”