When Tim Hortons (TH) opened at Inorbit Mall in Hyderabad — its 30th outlet in the country — it brought in an ambience where coffee lovers could work, conduct meetings, or hang out with friends, as they enjoy freshly brewed coffee, flavourful summer coolers with made-to-order food options such as the savoury cheese melts and piadinas. 

Tarun Jain, CEO of Tim Hortons, offered me a Hibiscus Lemonade cooler (one of their non-coffee top sellers)  as we sat down to discuss the brand’s business plans in South India, mainly Bengaluru and Hyderabad. On whether it is a challenge to do business at a time when India is witnessing a coffee revolution and discovering craft coffees and the rich flavours of single origin, Tarun says, “Challenges are a part of business. We focussed on the opportunity. The cafe market in India is booming. Yet, there is a gap for a brand to enter. We are not just bringing coffee, we are getting a cafe experience.”

As I took a sip of the Roselle cooler enjoying the dominant tartness in the drink rather than sugar, Tarun explains that every drink, food on the menu is open to customisation. 

The brand’s product portfolio ranges from 100% premium arabica coffee to iconic products like French vanilla and ice capp, Java iced capp and savoury signatures.

Tarun adds, “Keeping in mind the preferences and food habits of the Indian consumer, we customise our menus for every new market; no menu is a carbon copy of the other. Add to it is the democratic price point that we have. Our Timbits (bite-sized donuts) start at ₹39. We also have rice bowls and salads, wraps and piadinas (like a quesadilla) apart from the wide range of confectionery.” 

Tarun informs that with customisation, favourites vary from city to city but to ensure quality control and uniformity, TH follows a stringent international quality control process right from the sourcing method to ingredients. 

Those who have tasted different dishes from the TH’s menu, especially chocolate lovers, swear by the chocolate bombs and hot chocolate. 

I tried the barbeque chicken piadinas and the cheese melt sandwich in sourdough bread. After the roselle cooler, I tried the famous French vanilla ice capp and Java iced capp. If you love sweet drinks with chocolate you would enjoy this. TH also offers free sample cups for some drinks in case you are undecided. Those who enjoy the bitterness of black coffee must give their French press a try. Tarun also informs us that TH sources their beans from Chikmanglur. If coffee and donut and a good conversation is your go-to fun combo, TH it is.