Tim Hortons scraps Roll Up the Rim contest cups amid coronavirus fears
Company says it will redistribute all $30M worth of prizes to restaurant giveaways, digital contest
Tim Hortons says it is getting rid of Roll Up the Rim cups due to the novel coronavirus and is moving much of the annual contest online.
The coffee-and-doughnut chain is removing all of the contest's paper cups over health concerns around staff handling items recently gripped and sipped by customers who are returning them for prizes.
Tim Hortons does not identify COVID-19 as the catalyst, but said in a news release Saturday, "The current public health environment" means "it's not the right time for team members ... to collect rolled up tabs that have been in people's mouths."
The move is "for the health and benefit of guests and over 100,000 restaurant team members."
The company said it will redistribute all $30 million worth of prizes to the digital part of the contest as well as to restaurant giveaways.
Company COO Duncan Fulton told CBC News that cash registers have been programmed to randomly give a customer their purchase for free during the first two weeks of the promotion, which is set to begin on Wednesday. About $1 million worth of prizes per day will be given out this way. Fulton said that works out to about one in nine transactions.
The chain is now trying to find a way to get rid of thousands of contest cups in a sustainable way.
On Friday, Tim Hortons and McDonald's Canada became the latest coffee purveyors to stop accepting reusable mugs brought in by customers amid concerns about the epidemic, with the number of confirmed cases in Canada rising to 60 as of Saturday.
The temporary move followed similar decisions by Starbucks and The Second Cup Ltd. announced earlier in the week.
With files from The Canadian Press