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Tim Hortons UK expansion programme: 15 construction projects delivered during the pandemic.

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

exterior view of a completed restaurant construction project: Tim Hortons Harlow, Essex

Tim Hortons is Canada’s largest quick-service restaurant chain, serving coffee, doughnuts and other fast food items. Their first UK restaurant opened in 2017 and Iconic Project Management were delighted to help them realise their ambitious expansion plans.

Restaurant construction at pace.

Tim Hortons UK & Ireland have an aspiration to build as large an estate as possible, across the UK and Ireland. By 2020 they had built a portfolio of 26 restaurants and their target is to deliver 30 new drive-thru restaurants per year.

Iconic’s Darren Hewitt was appointed in August 2020 to deliver fifteen projects over the next fourteen months.

another exterior view of a completed restaurant construction project: Tim Hortons Harlow, Essex

End-to-end project management.

Darren led the design and planning stages of the pre-contract and procured the main contractor. He also managed the utilities suppliers, making sure each restaurant had sufficient power, water, data, etc. Finally, he managed the construction of each project from beginning to close out and hand over.

The construction phase of the projects involved either a completely new build or making appropriate modifications to the existing building at each site. Drive-thru lanes were created and car parks were resurfaced where necessary. External areas had both hard and soft landscaping.

A number of operations elements needed to be managed including installing the correct signage, order and menu boards, and making sure that each drive-thru lane had the correct height limiter; making sure that no over-sized vehicles could access the drive-thru lane and get stuck.

Darren also coordinated all the direct contractors who were providing furniture, internal marketing, kitchen equipment and joinery, freezers and chillers, etc.

Dealing with construction challenges.

This programme suffered from planning challenges because the Covid pandemic impacted response times with local authorities. Meanwhile, Brexit impacted the materials supply. These issues were managed by enlarging the supply chain, pre-ordering items on long lead times, and managing stakeholder’s expectations.

Sometimes, circumstances conspire to disrupt your plans. We all know how difficult 2020-21 have been for both the construction and hospitality industries but we have found Tim Hortons’ positive attitude of building for a successful future enormously inspiring. We are honoured to have played a part in their expansion programme.

a cup of Tim Hortons coffee with a box of Tim Hortons doughnuts covered with sprinkles

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Elizabeth Hewitt.

Lizzie is CEO at Iconic Project Management, taking care of the running of the business so that the project managers can get on with the important job of managing projects. Check her out on LinkedIn or say hi on Twitter @captainlizzo.

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