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Tim Hortons is changing up its breakfast sandwiches.
It’s out with the old, omelette-style eggs and in with new, freshly cracked ones, the latest tweak to one of the coffee and doughnut chain’s signature food items.
In a holiday letter scheduled to be sent to customers on Wednesday morning, Tim Hortons Canada president Axel Schwan outlined the company’s “roadmap for 2021,” which includes making improvements across the chain’s menu.
The first major change that will be rolled out across the country beginning in February is the shift from omelette-style eggs to freshly cracked fried eggs, something Schwan says will be a “massive improvement that will take the breakfast you already love to a whole new level.”
It’s a change that has been in the works for the last two years, Schwan said in an interview with Yahoo Finance Canada.
“We started asking Canadians, ‘How can we improve our breakfast even further?’ And people told us that freshly cracked eggs would be a really good idea,” he said.
“We’ve been working on this for a while now. We’ve tested it a lot, we tried a lot and now... we are happy to bring it to our restaurants across the country.”
Two years may seem like a long time, but it’s typical for a company run by parent company Restaurants Brands International (QSR). It took two years of tinkering and experimenting before Popeyes, also operated by RBI, released its wildly popular chicken sandwich. Before an item lands on the menu, the company typically conducts markets research, checks in with the advisory board of franchisee members to see if it can be added seamlessly to existing restaurants and, most importantly if customers will actually like the product. The item is then tested in markets before being released across the chain.
Schwan said the breakfast sandwiches have been tested in more than 500 restaurants across the country and have been a hit. “The feedback so far is very positive,” he said.
Tim Hortons’ breakfast category is a critical part of the company’s business, and one that has been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. RBI’s chief corporate officer said in an interview following the company’s most recent financial results that COVID-19’s disruption of morning and commuter routines was the biggest contributor to the 13.7 per cent year-over-year sales decline at Tim Hortons in Canada.
When asked whether there are significant risks with changing an item that is a part of the company’s most important segment of the day, Schwan said the changes are part of the company’s mission to make the items Canadian consumers love from Tim Hortons “even better.” For example, over the last year the chain rolled out FreshBrewer technology that it said improved the quality and consistency of Tim Hortons coffee.
“The egg, I think, is a good example of improving products that Canadians love and enjoy everyday and improving them further,” Schwan said.
“That’s really the big priority for us in the next year, and the years to come. To make the things that people already love even better.”
Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.