Tim Hortons adding plant-based burgers to the menu

For years now Tim Hortons and McDonald’s have been encroaching on each other’s territory: Tim Hortons expands its food menu for lunches and dinners; McDonald’s makes a big push into coffee, baked goods and all-day breakfast.

But on Wednesday, Canada’s iconic coffee and donut chain officially became a burger chain as well, adding two new menu items that use the popular Beyond Meat product. There’s a basic option with cheese, lettuce tomato, ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise, as well as one with BBQ sauce. Both sell for $5.69 and will be available at stores across the country. Tim Hortons isn’t offering fries with that, although it has sold potato wedges since 2016.

The move follows the addition of Beyond Meat breakfast sausage sandwiches to the menu in May. The QSR cites the success of the sausage products as a factor in expanding into burgers.

Beyond Meat has been one of the biggest food industry stories of the past year. In Canada, A&W began offering a breakfast sausage sandwich in March (ahead of Tim Hortons) after adding Beyond Meat burgers to its menu last summer. An increasing number of Canadian grocery stores are also carrying the products.

Beyond Meat enjoyed a massively popular IPO in May, and just this week, the meal-kit business Blue Apron announced it was going to start offering the plant-based burgers.

“We’re excited to be able to offer our guests a burger for the very first time. With nearly 4,000 Tim Hortons locations across the country, we are the largest quick service restaurant in Canada to add the Beyond Burger to our menu,” said Mike Hancock, chief operating officer, Tim Hortons, in a release. A&W has slightly less than 1,000 locations across Canada.

A request for information about marketing support to promote the burgers was not immediately returned, although none of Tim Hortons’ social feeds had mentioned Beyond Meat by midday Wednesday.

While McDonald’s has so far stayed off the Beyond Meat bandwagon in North America, it has been testing a vegan burger in Germany. Burger King, meanwhile, has started to roll out its vegan Whopper across the U.S.

“Following the success of the Beyond Meat Breakfast Sandwich launch, we wanted to partner with Tim Hortons to offer Canadians a delicious plant-based lunch and dinner option,” said Ethan Brown, founder and CEO of Beyond Meat. “With more and more Canadians interested in incorporating plant-based proteins into their diet, we are excited to be able to make our Beyond Burger available at Tim Hortons restaurants across Canada.”


David Brown