Tim Hortons reviews Tims TV after Enbridge ad controversy

Executives at Tim Hortons are reconsidering its Tims TV in-store screens after being dragged into a controversy over an Enbridge ad.

Restaurant Brands International says sales have increased at both Tim Hortons and Burger King

The company that owns both Burger King and Tim Hortons says sales were up at both chains last quarter. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)

Executives at Tim Hortons are reconsidering its Tims TV in-store screens after being dragged into a controversy over an Enbridge ad in the spring.

Daniel Schwartz, CEO of Tim Hortons' parent company Restaurant Brands, said the chain is reviewing the digital screen idea, which was meant to generate revenue by creating an in-store billboard.

However, an ad for pipeline giant Enbridge drew the ire of environmentalists in June. They petitioned Tim Hortons, which withdrew the ad, promptly creating anger in the oilpatch, with some oil sector supporters threatening to boycott the coffee chain.

The controversy threatened the cozy image Tim Hortons has and highlighted the potential dangers of seeming to endorse companies from other, less trusted, sectors.

"We're now taking a look at the whole Tims TV program and what makes sense for the brand," Schwartz told The Canadian Press.

"As with many things in the restaurant, we explore what's best from time to time."

Restaurant Brands International, the company that owns Tim Hortons and Burger King, said sales were up at both restaurant chains last quarter, enough to justify a dividend increase.

Same-store sales increased by 5.5 per cent at Tim Hortons, while sales were up by 6.7 per cent at Burger King, according to quarterly figures released early Monday by Restaurant Brands, the company that combined the two chains in a multibillion-dollar merger last year. 

"We are pleased to report another quarter of solid results for both of our iconic brands, Tim Hortons and Burger King," Schwartz said. "The continued expansion of our global footprint combined with effective marketing and successful product launches drove system-wide sales growth."

The company, based in Oakville, Ont., opened an additional 141 Burger King locations around the world as well as another 52 Tim Hortons during the period.

Both chains saw sales gains because of new products that proved to be popular with customers. Burger King started offering Chicken Fries during the quarter, a product line it first offered in 2012 before halting. 

Schwartz said Chicken Fries are profitable as well because they have a high gross margin and restaurants sell a lot of them. They are positioned as a snack or meal and cost around $3.

On the Tim Hortons side, the company credited new products like Dark Roast coffee and the Creamy Chocolate Chill iced beverage for the sales gain.

All in, the company posted a profit of $9.6 million, or five cents per share. That was down from $75.1 million, or 21 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Despite the profit drop, the company said it will boost its dividend to shareholders from 10 cents a share to 12.

With files from The Associated Press


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