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Category Archives: tim hortons

Hey Tim Hortons, stop destroying your donuts

tim-donutsForget security agency spying, forget net neutrality. There’s a far more serious concern that needs immediate national attention: Tim Hortons is massacring our donuts.

As the image above so horrifically depicts, the chain is destroying its lovingly crafted pastries by putting them into bags than then strip off their delicious toppings. The result: if you order a Chocolate or Maple Dip, you’re likely to end up with a plain donut and a bag full of goo.

This has been going for some time, as InsideTimmies has previously reported. In a society where there are robots on Mars and neurally controlled artificial limbs, this is unacceptable. Surely we have the technology to keep our donuts intact.

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Posted by on May 26, 2014 in food, tim hortons

 

Review: Taco Bell breakfast a pleasant experience

The Waffle Taco: it actually kind of looks like a taco.

The Waffle Taco: it actually kind of looks like a taco.

It’s not every day you get to live out Taco Bell’s “run for the border” slogan, but that’s exactly what a friend and I did on Thursday morning as we headed to New York state to try the chain’s new breakfast menu.

Pretty much everyone we encountered had a hard time believing we were indeed making the hour-and-a-half drive from Toronto to Niagara Falls, New York, just for some fast food. The evidently suspicious border guard asked me to roll down my back window, hand over my keys and pop the trunk. I’d never been searched before and had a hard time imagining what he must have been thinking or looking for. Do two dudes alone in a car often smuggle things into the U.S.? And what would we be smuggling – beaver pelts, or perhaps Kraft Dinner?

Nevertheless, we were but innocent taco seekers with nothing to hide, so we were soon on our way. We arrived at the Taco Bell at 7300 Niagara Falls Boulevard – I’m mentioning the address for a specific reason, which I’ll get to below – just after nine. To our delight, posters highlighting the new breakfast menu hung in the window. The restaurant was empty as we entered and the counter staff greeted us warmly. They asked where we were from and looked as surprised as the border guard upon learning we’d come all the way from Canada. We’d apparently missed the big rush – customers had been waiting since six a.m. for the restaurant to open at seven.

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Posted by on March 28, 2014 in food, mcdonald's, taco bell, tim hortons

 

Fast food joints looking to escape the ghetto

QSR magazine, the Time or Newsweek of the fast-food industry, recently released its top 100 news stories of the year. Most were ho-hum, but one that struck me was #4: “Wendy’s Tests New Prototype.” As the entry goes:

After hearing feedback from customers that its brand was tired and dated, Wendy’s unveiled a new store prototype in Columbus, Ohio, that allows diners to see the fresh preparation of food and offers more comfortable dining areas for customers to lounge in. The new store is one of four the company is launching. The new prototype in Columbus includes a WiFi lounge area, a new premium coffee program, updated interiors, and an exterior design inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.

No kidding. Given that I sometimes write about fast food, I do on occasion pop into such establishments – for research, of course – and I haven’t been able to help but notice that many of them are, simply put, ghetto dumps. With looks that haven’t changed in 20 to 30 years and the onset of grimy decay, a lot of fast-food joints look like what many people say they are: decidedly low class.

The smarter chains know this and are taking action. McDonalds, the industry king, recently announced it was spending $1 billion on renovations in Canada – and it shows. Say what you will about the food, but most recently renovated McDonalds restaurants feel very different than their competitors. You don’t feel dirty just by sitting in one.

The other night, I was at a Christmas party for media hosted by new wireless operator Mobilicity. The man behind the cellphone company is John Bitove, who also runs a number of other businesses including a whack of KFC and Taco Bell franchises. I remembered reading something a while back about how his company Priszm was looking to unload the franchises because the parent company, Yum Brands, wanted expensive renovations. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2011 in food, kfc, mcdonald's, new york fries, taco bell, tim hortons

 

Are Tim Hortons price increases warranted?

Coffee addicts may be in for a bit of a shock today when they pull in to their neighbourhood Tim Hortons as prices on some menu items are going up. Prior to today, the chain hadn’t specified which items would be hit with price increases, but it did confirm that coffee would be among them. A large coffee will be seven cents more, for one.

Being a keen watcher of trends in the fast-food business, I’m always interested by such increases, particularly because prices tend to be higher in Canada than in the United States to start with (The Economist’s Big Mac index finds McDonald’s signature burger to be 15 per cent more expensive in Canada). So over the weekend, I got to wondering: are Timmies’ price increases warranted?

Well, if the historical price of coffee commodity futures is anything to go by, they certainly are. The increase on the cost of a coffee amounts to only a few per cent but the rise in the commodity prices have absolutely skyrocketed over the past year, between 68 and 81 per cent.

Tim’s is in fact blaming its move on the rising costs of its ingredients, including coffee beans, while coffee prices are climbing across the board. Kraft and Smucker both recently hiked their prices by 22 and 10 per cent, respectively.

But commodity prices are not always a good measure of the actual supply of the particular goods. Indeed, the world’s biggest coffee seller – Starbucks – is blaming rising prices not on a shortage of beans but on speculators who are trying to make money by manipulating the market. While South American countries are yielding less beans than normal because of bad weather conditions, the chain says it isn’t haven’t any supply problems.

“I think it’s artificial. I think financial speculation has really stepped into the market,” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said recently. In other words, the people who buy and sell commodities futures are exaggerating the issues in South America to drive up prices. Schultz’s claims may have merit; after all, this sort of speculation has happened in every other market – even comic books – so why not coffee?

Whether it’s bad weather or greed, this is another clear sign that the luxury lifestyle we have here in the west is becoming more expensive to maintain. Rising coffee prices may in fact be another small sign that the divide between rich and poor is going to continue to grow. That is, of course, bad news for the Timmies addicts for whom coffee is not a luxury but a necessity.

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2011 in mcdonald's, tim hortons

 

Ice cream that doesn’t melt? That’s crazy!

If you’re like me, the best way to beat the summer heat is with some dee-lish ice cream (my personal favourite is the Turtles kind you get in the grocery store – I’m having some as I write this… mmm…). Ice cream is about as sacred and connected to summer as swimming pools and baseball, and with considerably fewer steroids! That’s why I was shocked to learn that someone had actually meddled with it to come up with ice cream that doesn’t melt.

It’s true – food scientists at Cold Stone Creamery, based in Arizona, have come up with a way to use gelatin to keep ice cream solid longer. When it finally does melt, it doesn’t turn into a gooey mess but rather a sort of soft pudding. Of course, they’ve partnered with Jell-O in rolling out Jell-O flavoured ice cream, like vanilla, fudge and banana.

Where can you get Cold Stone Creamery ice cream? There’s a whole bunch in the U.S. and even one in Puerto Rico, which you can find with this handy locator map. In Canada, Cold Stone announced a partnership with Tim Hortons back in February and is in the process of rolling out co-branded stores.

I happened across one a few weeks at Bay and Bloor here in Toronto and thought the whole Cold Stone situation was weird. They slap your ice cream down on a marble counter and then add a whole bunch of stuff to it, like candies and sauces, etc., before scooping it back into a cup. I didn’t end up trying it and I don’t actually know if the non-melting kind of ice cream is available at the Tim Hortons stores, but now I’m particularly curious.

Has anybody seen any other outlets or tried this stuff?

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2009 in food, tim hortons