EVEN before it opened its doors at the Nexus Elante Mall, the city was eagerly waiting for its steaming cuppa coffee and ‘the Tim Hortons experience’. With the city’s fast growing familial connection with Canada, this was a homecoming of sorts for the coffee brand. And so, at its opening at the Mall on Monday, Hortons did not require much introduction or the grand bandobast with a red ribbon and five star celebrity. The iconic brand and its world-famous coffee beverages were enough to strike a conversation.
Dressed in a warm red corduroy shirt and blue jeans, its CEO for franchise in India, Navin Gurnaney too felt right at home, with Punjab on his mind.“We aim to launch at least 20 Tim Hortons’ cafes across Punjab by the end of this financial year,” says Gurnaney, hinting at a pan-India expansion in the next years.
The coffee consumption, and culture has been growing steadily for the last 10-12 years, says Gurnaney. “The young Indian, the global travellers, the city dwellers are constantly looking for new global experiences, and coffee is one of them,” he says, adding that the world is shrinking fast, and social media has amplified things at a phenomenal level, increasing brand visibility and followers.
Although it’s a made-in-Canada brand, to survive in the Indian market, Hortons has adapted to the Indian sensibility and palette. While the beverages are standard across all chains, it’s the food that has undergone fusion. “In 1998, when I was working with a pizza brand, we realised pepperoni and chicken alone won’t cut. It took a long time for a famous fast food brand to understand what the customer wants here – it’s paneer!” says Gurnaney.