Tim Hortons – revered Canadian coffee and donut chain, announced a brand-new rewards program exactly one day after Starbucks announced their rewards revamp. Timing aside, this is a momentous occasion for Canadian coffee drinkers. Up until now, the chain hasn’t had anything that resembled a true loyalty program. One-off promotions (albeit pretty cool ones) have been the standard. That all changed with Wednesday’s announcement.
Possibly as a result of increased competition from McDonalds and possibly in an effort to deflect some recent criticism, the program couldn’t come at a better time for consumers who have been vocal in their request for such a thing.
There are some interesting differences between the programs however, that bely very different strategies and customer approaches. Unlike Starbucks’ new program that is based on dollars spent, Tim Hortons' customers are eligible for rewards after 7 visits. Why 7 visits? According to their press release: “Not only was the number seven NHL legend Tim Horton's retiring jersey number, starting today, Canadians will be rewarded after every seventh visit with new Tims Rewards.”
Further, registered members will be eligible for a free hot brewed coffee or tea of any size as well as baked goods except for Timbits and bagels, the company said in a news release. That’s a very generous redemption scheme for consumers. To stem any program abuse, even though all visits where customers spend over 50 cents qualify for the program, only one visit can be logged in the same half hour period. They’ve also capped point lifetime at 120 days – after which, any unredeemed or unbanked points will expire.
RateHub.ca compared the four most popular coffee chains in Canada and how their rewards programs stack up against one another (see the infographic below).