EVEN BEFORE opening its doors at the Nexus Elante Mall, the city was looking forward to its steaming coffee and “the Tim Hortons experience”. With the town’s rapidly growing family connection to Canada, it was something of a homecoming for the coffee brand. And so, when it opened at the Mall on Monday, Hortons didn’t need much of an introduction or the big bandobast with a red ribbon and a five-star celebrity. The iconic brand and its world famous coffee drinks were enough to start the conversation.
Dressed in a warm red corduroy shirt and blue jeans, its CEO for the franchise in India, Navin Gurnaney, also felt right at home, with Punjab in mind. this exercise,” says Gurnaney, hinting at pan-India expansion in the next few years.
Coffee consumption and culture has grown steadily over the past 10 to 12 years, says Gurnaney. “Young Indians, world travellers, city dwellers are constantly on the lookout for new global experiences, and coffee is one of them,” he says, adding that the world is shrinking fast and social media has amplified the things to a phenomenal level, increasing brand visibility and followers.
Although a made in Canada brand, to survive in the Indian market, Hortons has adapted to the Indian sensibility and palette. While drinks are standard across all chains, it’s the food that has undergone the merger. “In 1998, when I was working with a pizza brand, we realized that pepperoni and chicken alone wouldn’t be enough. It took time for a famous fast food brand to figure out what the customer wants here, it’s paneer! said Gurnaney.