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Tim Hortons Is Changing Roll Up The Rim In Response To Declining Sales

Tim Hortons' 33-year old Roll Up the Rim program is undergoing major changes.
Tim Hortons Is Changing Roll Up The Rim In Response To Declining Sales

The 33-year old Roll Up the Rim program is undergoing major changes after Tim Hortons' sales dropped 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2019.  The company's iconic contest is getting a reboot after Tim Hortons' parent company Restaurant Brands International reported disappointing sales results in the first three months of this year. With Tim Hortons' sales down, the company has decided to make changes in the hopes of boosting their in-store profits. 

Jose Cil, Restaurant Brands Internation's chief executive, announced that a weak Roll Up the Rim campaign contributed to a 0.6 percent decline in comparable sales from the beginning of January to the end of March this year.  Yahoo News reported that Cil said, "We still believe the 33-year old Roll Up the Rim program is a valuable and iconic platform for Tims. It has very high awareness."

“However, it’s become clear to us that it needs a modern and fresh approach to engage our guests in a stronger way going forward. The Tims team is working on new plans to drive a successful reboot of the program next year, including seamless digital integration.”

The company has yet to confirm what changes will ultimately be made to the Roll Up the Rim contest as part of the revamp, nor has it suggested how the modifications to the program will impact customers.

Last year, Tim Hortons observed a "decline in effectiveness" in the campaign's promotional impact on sales.  So in response, the company expanded Roll Up the Rim this year, including additional prizes to generate more hype about the contest.  Unfortunately for Tims, the plan didn't result in more customers or incremental sales. 

Cil reported, “Unfortunately, this additional investment did not drive the incremental engagement we expected."  He commented that the company noticed the complete opposite effect; the additional giveaways counterintuitively resulted in a dip in comparable sales for 2019's first quarter.

Tim Hortons faced some controversy this year related to the Roll Up the Rim campaign after three young Canadians initiated a petition urging the company to invest in compostable or recyclable paper cups.  The backlash ultimately tainted the quick-service restaurant chain's reputation in the eyes of many consumers, resulting in dampened sales.

Cil even went as far as blaming Canada's weather for the decline in Tim Hortons' Q1 earnings.  He claimed that the severe weather that wreaked havoc across the country has reduced comparable sales by approximately 1 percent this year so far.

The company reported a profit attributable to common shareholders of US$135 million or 53 cents per diluted share.  In comparison, Restaurant Brands International reported a profit of $148 million or 59 cents per diluted share last year.