Tim Hortons Cafe & Bakeshop has upgraded its lunch menu with new sandwiches and improvements to existing offerings in an attempt to entice afternoon customers to buy more than drinks and snacks.
The quick-service chain quietly rolled out the new line of sandwiches last week, and is currently in the process of rolling out new menu boards, said Kate O’Shaughnessy Jung, vice president of marketing for Oakville, Ontario-based Tim Hortons’ nearly 900 U.S. restaurants.
Tim Hortons, which is best known for its coffee and doughnuts, has as many customers in the afternoon as it does in the morning, but they weren’t buying lunch, Jung said.
“We would sell an array of products [including coffee, cold beverages and snacks], but what we weren’t selling were sandwiches,” Jung said.
“We realized we needed to put the same quality and care in lunch [as we do for coffee and doughnuts] and meet consumer needs for food that is convenient, affordable and higher quality.”
She said those three needs — convenience, affordability and higher quality — stood out in consumer research the company conducted in 2014.
“That’s a need we’re fulfilling with this program,” Jung said. “Our goal for doing this is to give our guests in the afternoon something to eat. … Clearly lunch is a daypart when guests will pay more [than for snacks], and we have the traffic to sell it.”
Updated items include:
• Turkey Bacon Club: This sandwich of smoked turkey breast, bacon and Cheddar cheese, with lettuce and tomato, is now served on baked ciabatta bread instead of a white bun. Tim Hortons also switch from low-fat mayonnaise to full-fat mayonnaise with less sugar. It also has real cheese instead of processed cheese. The sandwich is priced at $5.79.
• Bacon Grilled Cheese: This new version of the previous grilled cheese sandwich now has bacon, three kinds of cheeses (Swiss, Cheddar and smoked mozzarella) and is served on sourdough bread that is finished in a panini press. It is priced at $4.79.
• Avocado BLT: The former BLT now has avocado — a new option available on any sandwich — and is served on multigrain ciabatta. It is priced at $4.99.
The new sandwiches are:
• Chicken Salad Croissant: This was a top seller a decade ago, and has been brought back on an improved croissant and with all-white-meat chicken, which is blended with onions and celery in a creamy, mayonnaise-based dressing. It comes with lettuce and tomato, and is priced at $4.59.
• California Turkey Sandwich: Smoked turkey breast, avocado spread, baby spinach and honey Dijon sauce, served on multigrain ciabatta. It is priced at $5.99.
• Mozzarella Pesto Panini: Baby spinach, pesto sauce, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, served on sourdough bread grilled in a panini press. It is priced at $4.99.
• Italiano Grilled Bagel Sandwich: Smoked mozzarella cheese, smoked ham and pepperoni, with pesto sauce, baby spinach and red onions, served on a sundried tomato Asiago bagel and finished in a panini press. It is priced at $5.99.
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary