After fulfilling its mission to open three stores for every library in Canada, this weekend Tim Hortons went ahead and set up shop in Dubai. According to a story in The National, Canadian expats swarmed the “Tim Hortons Café and Bake Shop” on opening day, rejoicing that the coffee and doughnuts taste exactly the same—which is not surprising, coming from the company with the infamous finely tuned par-bake then freeze process. The Dubai location has the same menu we’re used to—sadly no fun McArabia Kofta equivalent—and the staff has been fully educated on what that whole “double double” thing means.
Of course the franchise can’t sustain themselves on Canucks in the United Arab Emirates forever, which is why they’re banking on their cheaper “value-priced” fare to keep them solvent in a mature coffee market. Tim Hortons has self-serve kiosks in Ireland and an extensive presence in the States, but this outpost stands as the company’s first true overseas export. The plan is to open 120 locations in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman over the next five years. Apologies to the Middle East, but resistance is futile.