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Mar 2, 2008 07:15 AM

Tim Horton's (moved from Ontario board)


Tim Hortons and Timothy's are in no way related except for the word "Tim" in their name. Timothy's sells inexecuseably bad products and I will not defend it.

However I think Tim Horton's deserves better. Yes, it's a chain, and yes, their coffee is "pedestrian" and aimed at the mass market, but what they do they do very well. I find them to be the most consistent of chains, the coffee is almost always very fresh (due to high turnover and the 20-minute rule) and the sandwiches and donuts are not particularly terrible in my experience. Not to mention, you can get out of there with two coffees and two donuts for the cost of a single lukewarm latte at Starbucks.

The nonsense rumours of nicotine or other additives in their coffee have long since been disproven (check The truth is, their coffee tastes particular good to many people simply because the cream they use has a very, very high percentage of fat compared to what you can buy off the supermarket shelves in Ontario. Judging from the number of people who order the hideous "double-double", I believe many Tim Horton's addicts like the taste of the cream and sugar more than the coffee anyway.

But I say give 'em some slack: they don't pretend to be anything they're not, and the product actually matches their advertising closer than any other chain I can think of. Besides, not everyone can afford a $4 coffee every day; I think of a Tim's coffee and a nice latte from an indie coffee shop as totally separate entities. Just because you like apples, it doesn't mean you have to hate oranges.

  1. In Starbucks' defense, if you're unsatisfied with the "lukewarm" temperature of their lattes (or any of their drinks for that matter), you can always customize and ask for "extra hot" or even specify the temperature that you want. I always ask for 190 degrees, because I find that the standard 160 degrees not hot enough.

    1. Just because Tim Hortons doesnt pretend to be better than they are doesnt mean that what they are is any good. Their donuts shrank tremendously in size and quality over the years. This to me is inexcusable. And to check further I did a search on Google and sure enough it is said that Tims now fries, freezes and distributed their crappy donuts to the stores for final frying or defrosting. The french cruller is the biggest joke of them all. I hate Tim Hortons!

      33 Replies
      1. re: deelicious

        Thank you Dee. The only chain that serves truly "fresh" donuts is Krispy Kreme.... Unfortunately their Canadian expansion failed miserably. Hot Original Glazed fresh out of the fryer vs defrosted Honey Dip... no contest.

        1. re: TexSquared

          It seems that they don't (at least in the GTA).

          The only source of these critters is in wrapped packages at convenience stores and the occasional supermarket. Fresh? No way.

          I did try a fresh one during the initial frenzy. While they had a few virtues coming directly from the fryer (Don Mills), they were too sweet for me to eat and caused a full out sugar crash somewhat later.

          I also found it interesting to learn that a recipe (admittedly weird) for making pancakes from donuts, featured in a 2006 issue of Gourmet, specifically warned against using KK donuts in the recipe, since the result was unacceptably greasy.

          (This should not be construed as a vote for that "defrosted honey dip", another former fave now reduced to yuk.)

          1. re: embee

            I agree with embee, although Krispy Kremes were far superior to modern Timmy's donuts they're toothachingly sweet. And yes, I used to enjoy the occasional Timmy donut but nowadays I don't really care for them... there's something wrong with the texture and taste (they taste a bit stale, probably due to how they no longer make them in house). I do find the cookies to be okay, though.

            1. re: embee

              I also agree with Embee...while "fresh", KK was the greasiest, sweetest donut I've ever had. I ate two in a row once, and was sick for the rest of the day.

              1. re: bluedog

                I ate three in a row once, and enjoyed every bite! Loved the contrast of sweet and yeasty. I miss 'em! Had someone (who didn't know me very well!) that I only liked them because they were American, which speaks to the bizarre Canadianist cult of Tim Hortons.

          2. re: deelicious

            It doesn't matter, I don't think, if it has been frozen to be finished at a Tim Hortons location. Every now and then I have one of those doughnuts and they're fine, they are totally what you'd expect. For less than $1, is anybody really finding this ridiculous? Nobody was really saying anything about the doughnuts, until someone says something about them being frozen and then all of a sudden everyone can tell the difference. Trust me, if we had independant bakers making every single doughnut from scratch at each location, they would be so inconsistant and all over the place with regards to quality and size. When a coffee and doughnut and bagel all cost less than $3, how can you really start complaining?

            1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

              Oddly, that's exactly how doughnut shops originally did it. Then the growth factor was exponential. Then the freezer arrived.

              1. re: Googs

                I don't think that changes anything I've said. It's like going to Wendy's and spending $2 on a cheeseburger and complaining that it wasn't made from fresh chuck and topped with Ontario Cheddar. When you spend like $1.75 for a doughnut and coffee, you are getting exactly what you pay for. I just don't get bringing up these tacky/cheap eating options for examples of the worst. I mean, did anybody here expect good food from a New Orleans inspired fast food place? Named Bourban St. Grill? I mean, it's like me putting up a posting, saying "Have you guys tried the burgers at harvery's.....they're not that good." I just don't see the point in criticizing Tim Horton's when they are not that bad, as long as eating them close enough to the final baking time.

                1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

                  lol...I agree with you..but imagine how short this string would be otherwise.

                  1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

                    I agree with you completely which is why i stayed away from this un-chow post until someone mentioned TH. It is my hot button. They piss me off because they keep reducing the size and quality of their product so it is consistently getting worse in value and taste. I NEVER go there except with friends who like it. I will eat the odd timbit. Their donuts are not what they were and I never liked their coffee. But I hate how they changed their product on people...and continue to. Does Harveys do that?

                    1. re: deelicious

                      They all do that, that's really the only way that they can see profit growth. I mean, in my experience the donuts are the same as they have always been, I'm not sure if they would actually decrease the size of a donut though, the cost savings would be so incredibly small, the cost of a donut for Tim's would be around 2¢, maybe 3¢. If you are ever in Port Perry, there is a bakery called Hank's, they do an incredible raised chocolate dip donut which is killer, I've been going there since I was a kid and it's one of those classic bakeries in a small town, maybe even part of the reason I opened a bakery.

                      1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

                        When you are selling millions of donuts, parts of pennies matter very much! Secondly, another savings is in transporting these babies around the city and third is cost per square foot when filling the racks in quasi-stores at gas stations.

                        More can get crammed in a truck and more varieties in a small space. Add it together and you have saved a pretty penny while duping the customer!

                        Also formulas need to change when switching from fresh to frozen. Look at Licks for example.

                        1. re: deelicious

                          Okay, I'll break it down this way. First, if you've ever seen a Tim Horton's delivery truck, they're pretty big, they are not stacked up to the roof allowing for no more room for slightly larger donuts. Secondly,

                          Let's say that every day they sell 1 million donuts. And every donut costs them 3¢ (excl. labour) and they sell it for 85¢.

                          (1,000,000 x .85 ) - (1,000,000 x .03) = Profit of $820,000

                          So let's say that they want to make the donuts smaller, and save $.0025. Thus a donut would cost them 2.75¢ per donut, but they risk losing 1% of their customers because of the smaller donut size.

                          (990,000 x .85) - (990,000 x .0275) = Profit of $814,275

                          See what I'm saying, there isn't a cost savings when you do something save on donut size. That's also on the presumption that just 1 out of every 100 people will not buy a smaller donut.

                          Also, they're not lowering quality, Tim Horton's has been the same place for years, Their stuff has never been that great, but it's never been better than it is not. Just because someone had a stale donut, doesn't mean they are all like that. They do not consistantly raise their prices, my guess is that Tim Horton's prices rise far below the rate of inflation and their costs.

                          And Calling someone a Moron for buying Tim Horton's timbits and coffee? I think we can do better than a lot of these posts.

                          1. re: CIRCLES_SQ


                            I love you like a cousin, but I remember the apple fritters of years past at Tim's. They were more expensive than a regular doughnut, but were also about twice as big, with lots of chunks of real apple and tons of cinnamon. What's offered today is a pale comparison to the original. I blame the Wendy's involvement, and I think it's ironic that a burger chain that prides itself on its "fresh not frozen" burgers would dispense with fresh doughnuts for a pre-baked alternative.

                            However, you do have to give Tim's credit for providing a much healthier alternative to most FF spots. My elder daughter plays rep level soccer, which entails a lot of travel to tournaments. I've never heard the parents say "OK, it's lunch, where's a McDonald's?". Tim's is the invariable choice, unless someone knows a good independent spot in the area. Every parent prefers a soup/sandwich combo at Tim's to a burger/fries at the big chains. It's a bit more expensive, but you don't feel guilty watching your daughter eat it.

                            1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

                              Sorry Circles. You are dead wrong. You are not aware but Tim's donuts have shrunk tremendously - many are half the size for a lot more money. The regular ring donut is much smaller too. You just didn't notice them shrinking - sorry, but your math and your projection of your ideas of their profit, and lost sales, just isn't relevant when the fact is that the donuts have shrunk. You are using made up numbers and I am using the facts.

                              Further, a freshly made donut beats a reheated frozen donut anyday - they changed the formula so it could be fried and frozen - it is no longer what it used to be - sorry.

                              Just now as I am typing this posting I went to google and searched - donuts shrinking hortons - to find a link or two for you. Instead I found dozens and dozens of websites with people complaining about the smaller crappier frozen donuts. I also found out that the coffee cups shrank too. All this confirmed by employees. It is unfortunate how many people don't notice and even worse that those who do, don't care enough to fight back. Like TexSquared pointed out - the sheep will follow!

                              As far as the moron comment goes, I wouldn't call them morons either, but I can think of many other unfavourable terms that are fitting.

                              1. re: deelicious

                                Actually, I'm not dead wrong, and you have actually used no facts at all. And no donut has shrunken by half. How big do you actually think the donuts were a few years ago?

                                1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

                                  Sorry you can keep going in circles, but they have shrunk and i have posted a statement from Tim Hortons where they verify it. You don't know they shrunk so don't pretend to know that thousands who say they have shrunk, are wrong. You can eat their frozen tiny donuts all ya like, but you can't change the facts.

                        2. re: deelicious


                          Hear hear! :-)

                          The chain's founder, Tim Horton, was a Toronto Maple Leaf. Quite fitting if you think about it...

                          What do Tim Hortons (donut chain) and the Toronto Maple Leafs have in common? Let's see... consistently inferior product, gets worse every year, but they keep raising the prices but they get away with it because their fanboys/sheep/brainwashed customer base continue to pay those prices.

                          In any other business, if you continue to raise prices and lower quality you will lose customers. Unfortunately this doesn't seem to apply to the dreaded TH and TML... Any other NHL team this bad would be playing in front of empty seats in their home rink. And any other restaurant that tried to pass off frozen goods as fresh while raising prices would suddenly lose customers to the guy across the street.

                          Needless to say I do not attend Leafs games (nor do I buy any of their souvenir items) and I definitely do not give Tim Hortons my business. I refuse to support either of them with my hard earned money, because the product sucks, simple as that. If others are stupid enough to do so, that's their prerogative, but as we saw in the last 2 U.S. presidential elections, yes, even the majority can be idiots.

                              1. re: pinkprimp

                                Perfect! I'm a new Canuck and don't get the Tim's thing. I don't think it's horrible but couldn't comprehend why they're so busy all the time. People talk about Tim Horton's like it's a national institution and getting coffee there is a duty like paying taxes. The food ranges from bad to average and is overpriced. The coffee is super weak and even a fresh pot has a weird burned taste to it.

                                Last summer was taking the GO bus up to Wonderland and it went past a TH before entering the park. This large group of 8 year old kids started singing the song from the commercial together. "Always fresh..always Tim Hortonsssss...." Totally disturbing, the hair on the back of my neck stood up.

                                1. re: abigllama

                                  Whenever I see one of these fanboys/fangirls at my work show up wearing a Leafs sweater, carrying a large double-double in one hand and a box of Timbits in the other I can only think of one word... MORON.

                                  [even worse are the ones that come in with one of those trays with FOUR large coffees... that they'll drink over the course of the shift rather than have to leave the building at lunch!!]

                                  Thanks for backing me up, I thought for sure I'd get flamed for this! Actually I'm surprised my anti-TH post wasn't deleted!

                                  1. re: TexSquared

                                    I'll admit I was annoyed when I first read your post.

                                    But mostly because it is true! I am a Leafs and TH fan because of what they once were and it disappoints me to see what they have become. At least the Leafs have to hear about it the papers. TH just continues selling a crappy product and will contiune to do so.

                                    I work in an area where there is a Subway and Tim Hortons next door. Now Subway isn't exactly fine dining. But how could someone choose to eat that nasty looking deli trio sandwich over a sub that is the same price, twice the size and better quality?

                              2. re: TexSquared

                                You hit it right on the nose TexSquared. Suckers are sheep that follow the one in front and do not possess a discriminating point of view.

                                1. re: fruglescot

                                  Amazing how powerful brainwashing can be.

                                  This is from CBC News

                                  Tim Hortons is shaving down the size of its doughnuts to what they were in 1964.
                                  The doughnut and coffee giant says the change is a way of standardizing all franchises by using the original dimensions established when the chain first opened almost 40 years ago.

                                  "Since 1964 we've had specifications for the size of the doughnuts but over the years, franchise operators deviated from that and made bigger or smaller doughnuts," said Patrician Jamieson of Tim Hortons.

                                  Jamieson says the doughnuts "lacked consistency" so the company decided to re-issue the original specifications so that all the doughnuts will be the same size across Canada.

                                  The "downsizing" isn't going well with consumers. George Caine of Calgary says he and his buddies were taken aback when they went to get their weekly pack of doughnuts — the boxes were smaller and no longer have handles.

                                  Caine suggests the company also change the price to that of 1964, too.

                            1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

                              "It's like going to Wendy's and spending $2 on a cheeseburger and complaining that it wasn't made from fresh chuck and topped with Ontario Cheddar." Circles

                              Um, doesn't Wedny's have a campaign about using only fresh meat? Am I misunderstanding your argument?

                              It's all well and good to be inexpensive, but bad food is bad food. And the pre-made crap at my local (VIctoria) Timmy's is bad food. Granted, if someone else buys, hey, free (ok) donut! But I will not buy. Then again, a bad donut is kind of like bad sex: it's still a donut.

                              1. re: miss_bennet

                                You are misunderstanding my argument.

                                1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

                                  Can you please explain that reference? I have conferred with a friend, and he doesn't understand the Wendy's reference, either.

                                  1. re: miss_bennet

                                    Okay.......If I go into a go into a nice restaurant in the city and order a burger for $12-15, I'd expect a handmade burger from ground beef, with a slice of real cheese. Now, if I went into Wendy's or any other comparable fast food place, I'd expect to get exactly what I do get, a machine pressed burger with processed cheese.

                                    See, the fact that the meat they use is fresh has nothing to do with the argument whatsoever. It's about managing expectations. The problem is that most people on this board don't seem to be managing their expectations correctly. They want to pay ¢75 for a handmade donut made from scratch everyday, and they want them all to be the same size they were 10 years ago.

                                    People are making comments saying how the apple fritters were twice the size years ago. Bu ignoring the fact that an apple fritter is 300 calories, does anyone really want to get a 600 calorie donut? I don't think so, at least I don't.

                                    Also, several are ignoring the fact that most locations of Tim Horton's need hundreds of donuts every morning, I don't think that most people know what it takes to make 50-60 of each type of donut that Tim Horton's has.

                                    If you are going to take a crack at Tim Horton's, do it at their service. Because that's the real place where it should be leveled.

                                    1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

                                      Ok. So your reference to the Wendy's burger was contradictory and an unsound argument. I understand now. If you had complained about a Mcdonald's burger, your argument would have been valid.

                                      1. re: miss_bennet

                                        No, the argument is still valid, do you really see a big difference between Wendys and McDonalds? It doesn't matter which fast food place you use.

                                      2. re: CIRCLES_SQ

                                        SPEAKING OF APPLE FRITTERS
                                        I called the server over the other day to complain about finding something in my apple fritter. "Oh, It's just a piece of apple, sir"
                                        she explained. 'That's funny" I replied, "I've never seen anything like that before"!

                                        1. re: CIRCLES_SQ

                                          Circle circle circle. So now you are admitting the donuts are smaller. We are getting somewhere at last. But dont tell me they did it for the goodness of my health!!! What are you thinking??? They are charging double the price for a much smaller size and you are telling me I should be thankful that they are reducing my!! Again I say - the power of brainwashing! WOW!!

                                          I agree. Tim's had a choice in order to be more profitable. (which you denied earlier) One decision would be to raise prices and the other would be to skimp on the product. They chose both simultaneously over the years and I am just saying that for me, I would rather pay more for the same quality that they set as standard than to be hit both ways. Now they just taste like crap, I dont care what price they are. That is all I am saying

                                          Admit they are smaller. Admit they are more money. Admit they are frozen now. Admit they are not the same ingredients and you have realized how they are not what they used to be.

                          1. I used to drink Timmy's all the time. We would make coffee runs at work a couple of times a week a few years back. I think I've had one in the last 4 months and it was pretty disappointing. I used to LOVE this stuff. Since they introduced the cinnamon dolce latte at Starbucks, I'd rather spend $4.77 on that once a week then I few Timmy's through out.

                            Thanks for the heads up on the donuts. I haven't had one in over 10 years. I thought about trying one again but, doesn't seem worth it now. I'll have to find a local place that makes there own and indulge. (Or just stick to Cinnzeo. You can watch them make the cinnamon buns right in front of your eyes)

                            1. Folks, it seems like everyone has had their say on this, and some of the replies are starting to get a bit personal, so we're going to lock this thread.