Restaurant Brands International Inc. said Thursday that it has agreed to a master franchise deal with a group of investors who plan to expand the Tim Hortons brand to the Philippines.
Under the deal, TH Coffee Services Philippines Corp. will be the master franchisee of the Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain in the country, in a joint venture with Tim Hortons.
It marks the first major international deal for Oakville, Ontario-based Tim Hortons since its merger with Miami-based Burger King in 2014.
“The agreement signals an exciting era of growth for the Tim Hortons brand internationally, and particularly in Southeast Asia,” Restaurant Brands International CEO Daniel Schwartz said in a statement.
The joint venture deal is a major departure from the way Tim Hortons has traditionally grown in its home market of Canada, where more than 80 percent of the chain’s 4,400 units are located. Tim Hortons has traditionally operated with small-scale, “conventional” franchisees that have one or two locations.
But the chain has struggled to grow outside of Canada, and as part of RBI the company is looking toward larger-scale operators. It has deals with multi-unit developers in places like Indiana and Minnesota, for instance, as part of plans to expand in the U.S.
It plans to use the joint venture model to quickly take the brand international — where Tim Hortons has particularly struggled to bring its brand.
It’s a model Burger King has used in recent years to rapidly grow outside the U.S. Executives have signaled their intent to use that model with Tim Hortons since the merger was first announced. Restaurant Brands International has vowed to aggressively grow the Tim Hortons brand internationally.
“In Canada, the Tim Hortons brand has reached an iconic status, and now we’re looking to further expand our global footprint by bringing our signature coffee and products to the Philippines,” Elias Diaz Sesé, president of Tim Hortons, said in a statement. “We are working with partners who have a deep understanding of the Philippines, which we believe will position them well for success in developing and growing the brand in the region.”