Published: 12/04/2018 19:00 - Updated: 12/04/2018 12:15

Canadian food giant eyes up Inverness site

Written byNeil MacPhail

 

Tim Hortons
A computer image of what the Tim Horton diner might look like in Telford Street.

IT could soon be time for Tims in Inverness if a planning application from a massive Canadian coffee and "donut" chain hits the spot with councillors on the planning committee.

The first Tim Hortons in the UK opened in Glasgow last year and now the company is seeking permission to sell their famous Timbits and Double Doubles from a restaurant and drive-through in Telford Street, a stone’s throw from the Caledonian Canal.

Hortons made famous the Timbit – bite-sized balls of their traditional donuts with various glazes and fillings – and asking for a Double Double will get you a coffee with double cream and double sugar.

If the planning application is approved, it will be Hortons’ first outlet outside the central belt where already they have built up a chain of eight – five in Glasgow, and one each in East Kilbride, Dunfermline and Ayr – in less than a year.

The first Glasgow restaurant saw crowds gather outside while people dressed as members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police manned the doors.

Tim Hortons, popularly known as Timmys, Timmy, or Tims, is Canada’s largest quick service restaurant chain with more than 5000 outlets globally.

A planning application has been lodged by agents Montagu Evans for a site on the car park at Telford Retail park owned by Zurich Assurance Ltd, already containing shops such as PC World.

Montagu Evans says that Hortons operate town centre stores and drive through style restaurants but has very specific locational requirements for their drive through outlets, which are geared to cater for the demand outside the town centre.

Its statement adds: "The outlet at the retail park will not preclude the operator developing a store in the town centre and indeed they are actively looking at opportunities in this respect."

The application states that there is not a suitable location in the city centre for a drive through restaurant, and the development plan indicates that retail parks /commercial centres such as Telford Street are the next "sequentially preferable locations within which to locate new retail development. Indeed this position is supported by the identification of Telford Street in the Local Development Plan."

Inverness Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Stewart Nicol, said: ‘This is a welcome development for Inverness and, as Tim Hortons have only recently established their brand in Scotland, a real endorsement of the importance of Inverness and the Highlands.

"The investment in the city both in terms of construction and operational jobs is also a welcome boost to the city.  It is also positive that this development is on the north-west of the city in an area that has been previously overlooked.’

The company that became a Canadian institution was co-founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, by Canadian hockey legend Tim Horton, a Canadian professional ice hockey player.

The defender played for 24 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) until his death following a single-vehicle crash in 1974, at the age of 44.

In 2014, Burger King agreed to purchase Tim Hortons for US$11.4 billion, and the chain became a subsidiary of the Oakville-based holding company Restaurant Brands International, which is majority-owned by Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital.

This news was greeted by dismay by many Canadians, who regard Hortons as one of their own.

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