Coronavirus prompts Tim Hortons, Uber Eats to team up for first time

Guests can get a 10-pack of Timbits with order of $5 or more

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Tim Hortons, the popular Canadian coffee and doughnut chain, will fulfill orders for delivery using UberEats for the first time.

The company press release announcing its partnership with UberEats did not mention the coronavirus pandemic, but the addition of third-party delivery service comes during a period of lockdowns, quarantines and social distancing guidelines put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Many businesses have had to close, alter business plans and reduce operating hours.

Restaurants have been particularly hard hit. Government officials have ordered many restaurants to close dining rooms, which has forced them to rely on take-out, drive-thru and delivery as a means to stay afloat.

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A Tim Hortons representative did not respond to a request for comment.

Tim Hortons has hardly been unaffected by the pandemic.

Tim Hortons' parent, Restaurant Brands International, announced in March it would be providing millions of dollars in relief to its franchise owners through cash advances and rebates. Restaurant Brands International also owns Burger King and Popeye's chains. The total aid to its restaurants in North America is an estimated $70 million.

Additionally, employees in the United States have been offered two weeks of paid sick leave and a $40 million fund was established to help Tim Hortons employees in Canada. And the company has switched to a variable rent model for its more than 3,700 Tim Hortons and Burger King restaurants.

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At the end of last year, Tim Hortons, Restaurant Brands International's biggest chain, had been struggling to grow sales in a competitive breakfast space despite adding new coffee and lunch offerings, according to Reuters. It had attempted to roll out breakfast sandwiches with Beyond Meat Inc.’s plant-based sausages in select Canadian cities, but that effort was scrapped.

In December, Alex Macedo, the former president of the coffee and breakfast chain, stepped down after two years in the role, according to Reuters. At the time, Restaurant Brands’ September-quarter results were hurt by Tim Hortons’ performance, while its other fast-food chains Burger King and Popeyes did well.

In the fight against COVID-19, Restaurant Brands International has assisted health care workers and first responders.

Burger King donated $1 million in China, where the pandemic began, to the Red Cross to support front-line medical staff and has been providing free meal delivery to hospitals and to on-duty police officers. In Italy, the restaurant chain has donated meals to local hospitals and 8 tons of food to the Red Cross.

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Tim Hortons has deployed coffee trucks throughout Canada to offer free coffee and doughnuts to health care workers and first responders at hospitals, health care centers and COVID-19 test facilities.

Other big restaurant chains have been committed to helping out, too.

Through May 3, Starbucks will offer free coffee for first responders and health care workers. Sandwich shop Jersey Mike's Subs has committed to donating millions of subs as part of the company's Million Sub Sandwich initiative. And some chains, like Subway, will sell groceries including bread, meat, cheese and vegetables.

Tim Hortons delivery orders can be made starting today, and each order of at least $5 comes with a free 10-pack of Timbits from Friday until the end of April.

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