‘It’s gotten old’: Tim Hortons vows major changes to Roll Up the Rim after campaign fails to boost sales

Tim Hortons is planning to make major changes to its signature Roll Up the Rim contest after acknowledging the 33-year-old promotion “didn’t work” this year.

“It’s gotten old,” Tim Hortons president Alex Macedo told the Financial Post on Monday. “No one drives the same car, not a lot of people, that they had in 1986 and expects the same results.”

Tim Hortons’ parent company, Restaurant Brands International Inc., pegged weak sales in the first quarter of 2019 on bad weather and the faded popularity of Roll Up the Rim. The coffee chain’s system-wide sales were US$1.5 billion, down US$61 million compared to the previous year. Comparable sales, an important gauge for success in retail, fell by 0.6 per cent.

“Our biggest promotion in a competitive environment didn’t work,” Macedo said. “So that causes us to lose ground.”

Noticing the campaign wasn’t attracting customers like it used to, Tim Hortons tried making tweaks to the program this year, adding more prizes and extending the run time. But it didn’t provide the desired result — and the extra prizes dragged down the coffee chain’s sales numbers.

Now, Tim Hortons is planning to turn Roll Up into a mostly digital program, with Macedo promising “a really cool app.”

“You’re going to be able to play with it on your phone next year, no doubt,” he said. “I’m promising that without talking to the tech people, but I assure you that’s going to happen.” Asked about whether the promotion would stay on coffee cups, he said he was still trying to figure out “how many rims we’re going to continue to roll up.”

“We’re not going to kill it,” Macedo said. “I don’t want people to think, ‘Oh, Roll Up is done.’ It’s not done.”

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