As an ardent coffee lover, I’m often asked if I am a Starbucks or a Tim Hortons person. In that context, I belong to the middle ground. I love Starbucks for its great coffee and of course, free Wi-Fi. On the other hand, I love the ambiance of Tim Hortons and the coffee is mind blowing as well.
However, I’ve often felt that Tim Hortons has been missing out on a large number of coffee lovers, simply because it doesn’t offer free Wi-Fi. Not anymore though, nearly two years after Starbucks launched free Wi-Fi, Tim Hortons has joined the fray as well.
The Canadian coffee chain yesterday announced that it will begin rolling out free, high-speed Wi-Fi to more than 2,000 of its stores across Canada. 90% of its restaurants will offer free Wi-Fi by September, thanks to Bell Canada.
The coffee giant has been doing free Wi-Fi pilots at a few Toronto restaurants and locations in Kelowna, B.C., Red Deer, AB, St. Catharines, ON, and Barrie, ON. The company says it decided to choose Bell as a partner after a rigorous six-month testing process with multiple service providers.
“It’s all about convenience and making life easier for our guests,” said Roland Walton, Chief Operations Officer, Tim Hortons. “Free wireless Internet at Tim Hortons will help people stay connected on the road in more locations than anyone in Canada and is yet another great reason to visit one of our restaurants to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee.”
The Tim Hortons deal is another testimony to Bell’s supremacy as Canada’s leading WiFi service provider. Bell Canada already operates 2,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots at Starbucks, ?McDonald’s and Indigo retail outlets in Canada.
The tricky part, though, with free Wi-Fi is striking the perfect balance. Coffee chains want customers to stay, but not too long. Getting customers into the store because of the free Wi-Fi is one thing, but getting them to be profitable cogs in the machine is another thing altogether.
So if you’ve been looking for another reason to hang around in Tim Hortons, this is your ticket. And if you were a Tim Hortons person who jumped ship to Starbucks for the lure of free Wi-Fi, now’s the time to get back to your favorite coffee shop.