Tim Hortons Inc. (TSX: THI, NYSE: THI) is a Canadian fast casual restaurant known for its coffee and doughnuts. It is also Canada's largest fast food service with over 3000 stores nationwide. It was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, by Canadian hockey player Tim Horton and Jim Charade, after an initial venture in hamburger restaurants. In 1967 Horton partnered with investor Ron Joyce, who assumed control over operations after Tim Horton died in 1974, and expanded the chain into a multi-million dollar franchise. Charade left the organization in 1966 and briefly returned in 1970 and 1993 through 1996.
Tim Hortons franchises spread rapidly and eventually overtook McDonald's as Canada's largest food service operator. The company opened twice as many Canadian outlets as McDonald's and system-wide sales also surpassed those of McDonald's Canadian operations as of 2002. The chain accounted for 22.6% of all fast food industry revenues in Canada in 2005. Tim Hortons commands 76% of the Canadian market for baked goods (based on the number of customers served) and holds 62% of the Canadian coffee market (compared to Starbucks, in the number two position, at 7%).
As of 1 July 2012, Tim Hortons has 4,071 restaurants, including 3,326 in Canada and 734 in the United States.
Tim Hortons' international presence includes outlets in the United States (including one opened in Detroit and owned by former NBA player Derrick Coleman) and one that was on a military base outside Kandahar, Afghanistan. Two more outlets are located in military bases at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia. Tim Hortons' other international expansions include a small outlet at the Dublin Zoo. Tim Hortons also made a deal with the Spar convenience store chain in the UK and Ireland, resulting in Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts being sold at small self-service counters in 50 Spar stores as of 30 April 2007.
Through franchisee partnership with Dubai based Apparel Group, Tim Hortons entered the United Arab Emirates in 2011 with store openings in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Fujairah, with the first location being Sheikh Zayed Road, opened in September 2011. They are expected to open up to 120 stores in five years across the Persian Gulf region including Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait.
Its busiest branch is located in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; prior to its November 2010 expansion into Nunavut, it was also its northernmost store.
In November 2010, Tim Hortons extended Interac debit payment system acceptance to most of its stores. The company previously began accepting Interac in its stores in Western Canada in 2003 and, later, MasterCard and MasterCard PayPass across most of its stores in 2007. The company often indicated the delay of broader or wider electronic payment acceptance was to "ensure speed of service."