Tim Hortons set to open branches across Kuwait

KUWAIT: Tim Hortons conducted its market grand opening in the presence of CEO of AG Cafe, the master franchisee of Tim Hortons brand in the Middle East Hesham Almekkawi and Ambassador of Canada to the State of Kuwait  Mawani. Kuwait Times spoke to Almekkawi to learn more. Some excerpts:

Kuwait Times: Tell us more about Tim Hortons.

Hesham Almekkawi: Tim Hortons is Canada’s largest coffee chain brand which was founded more than 55 years ago. We introduced the iconic brand to the Middle East by opening the first Café & Bake Shop back in 2011 in Dubai, and have been expanding in the region ever since. Today we are operating around 235 restaurants in the Middle East and recently opened our first three restaurants in India.

KT: Please tell us what makes Tim Hortons special and desirable in the GCC?

Almekkawi: There are many factors that differentiate us from other coffee brands. Freshness is always our main motto – we freshly bake our products in the restaurant and offer high-quality 100 percent Arabica coffee that are 100 percent authentically sourced. As for maintaining the same quality, we taste around 300 cups of coffee every day to make sure it conforms to our quality. Another major factor is the variety of our offerings as we offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner that cater to all ages. All these factors combined what make Tim Hortons a successful brand.

KT: How was the brand welcomed in Kuwait?

Almekkawi: We were overwhelmed by the reception in Kuwait. We realized this before our opening due to the Kuwaitis’ feedback on social media who were eagerly waiting for the brand. On the opening day, we were overwhelmed by the number of people who lined up at every branch. The Kuwaitis appreciate good-quality coffee and consider it as an artisanal product rather than just an energy booster. We appreciate the huge fans we have here and believe that a bright future awaits us in Kuwait.

KT: You have already opened five branches in Kuwait. How many more branches does AG Café plan to open and within what timeframe?

Almekkawi: The sky is the limit for us, and our goal is to reach 500 restaurants by 2025 across the Middle East. Kuwait is considered as one of the fastest growing coffee markets in the region and we have witnessed its potential – for that, we have set a fast and progressive plan to launch over 50 restaurants in the next three years here. The most important requirement for a successful brand is to have loyal customers, and this is exactly what Kuwait offers.

KT: Which country do you plan to open Tim Hortons next? What are your future plans?

Almekkawi: We will be opening in Egypt next year which is deemed as a huge market for us. This will be our eighth country in the region where we are operational. We believe that Egypt is a market that has a huge potential as its people, similar to Kuwait, are showing the same eagerness for our brand.

Aliya Mawani, Ambassador of Canada to State of Kuwait

KT: A final word for Tim Hortons lovers in Kuwait and the GCC.

Almekkawi: I would like to thank the Kuwaiti people for their warm welcome and the great reception we received in this lovely country. We promise our guests to offer them the same freshness they have experienced in Canada right here in Kuwait, each and every day. In the upcoming years, we will be around every neighborhood to welcome and serve you at all times of the day.

Aliya Mawani, Ambassador of Canada to the State of Kuwait said: “I have a big smile on my face; I am very excited to see Tim Hortons return to Kuwait. ‘Timmies’ as we call it in Canada, is an iconic Canadian coffee brand and we are very happy that our friends in Kuwait can enjoy this at home. There are many Kuwaitis who know Tim Hortons very well, because they have either studied or lived in Canada, so it’s great to have a piece of Canada here. I am really pleased to support the launch and extension of Tim Hortons in the region, as I think it is a great example of the strong and growing ties between Canada and Kuwait.

On the opening day, she stated: “It’s lovely and beautifully done – the coffee is great. It feels like my home away from home. It’s so nice to meet the team and I feel very welcomed, and I think it’s going to be a great addition to the coffee scene here in Kuwait. It’s great to be surrounded by all these great details – it makes me so happy!”


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