Tim Hortons, a chain of Canadian coffee shops, stirs excitement among Canadian expats with news a store is to open in Abu Dhabi.
Canadian favourite Tim Hortons to open shop in UAE
ABU DHABI // Canada’s beloved coffee and food chain Tim Hortons could soon be giving expatriates a taste of home in the UAE.
The coffee shop is set to occupy a 1,200 sq ft space in Mushrif Mall when it opens in early April, according to a mall official.
“We have already noticed a lot of excitement and we are looking forward to hosting Tim Hortons here,” said the deputy mall manager, Siddharth Khanna.
The branch would be managed by Apparel Group, Mr Khanna added. The Dubai-based retail group declined to comment.
When reached yesterday David Clanachan, Tim Hortons’s US and international chief operations officer, said: “We don’t have any signed relationship deals there, we don’t have any leasing work done at this point in time.
“We’re just finishing up all the [research] work that we are working on, and we are getting very close to making a decision with our board of directors on which market we want to go to first outside of North America,” he said. “We are very close, but we have not made that decision at this point in time.”
The brand was co-founded by the National Hockey League player Tim Horton in 1964. As of July last year, the chain had 3,627 outlets, 587 of them in the US. The prospect of a shop in the UAE had some of the country’s 24,000 Canadians buzzing.
“Whenever I go back home, the first place I stop at the airport is Tim Hortons,” said Ron Murphy, 36, who as the captain of the Dubai Mighty Camels ice hockey team counts the co-founder of the restaurant chain as a personal hero. “There’s something about their coffee.”
Another convert to the brand is Amru Abbas, an Iraqi born in Abu Dhabi who lived in Hamilton, Ontario – the site of the first Tim Hortons – for five years.
“I’ve just found out and I’m ecstatic,” he said.
The branch would be the first of its kind in the Middle East, although the coffee is served to members of the military at the Canadian Armed Forces base at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.
* With files from Armina Ligaya