BUS 220317 TIM HORTON COFFEE HOUSE ARAMZAN-16 (1)-1647517820275
Tim Hortons opens the first coffee house in the UAE at Dubai Hills Mall. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Hesham Almekkawi sure knows what he wants from mall developers in Dubai – 200 square metres or above. Because, according to the regional CEO of Tim Hortons, that’s the only way they will get to host the brand’s ‘Coffee House’ premium outlet.

“Everything’s different about the Coffee House compared to a regular Tim Hortons’ café,” said Almekkawi. “It’s all different, whether it’s the ambience, décor, seating and the menu. Then, at the Coffee House, we do five different ways of brewing.

“We need to get all of that right, and the only way to do that is have 200 square metres at a bare minimum.”

That is exactly what the Canadian café operator has at its first Coffee House outlet in the UAE, at the recently opened Dubai Hills Mall. The only other one in the world is in Saudi Arabia. This is also why Almekkawi sees the Dubai outlet as a taster for more of these premium locations to come up. (Tim Hortons currently has 150-odd outlets in the Gulf. Dubai-based Apparel Group has the local franchise rights. Tim Hortons is part of Restaurant Brands International, which also owns Burger King and Popeyes.)

Make the approach

So, where could the next Tim Hortons’ Coffee House be? Almekkawi knows where he would love to be – The Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Mirdif City Centre. “As I said, anywhere where we can access 200 square metres would be just what’s needed,” he added. “Having opened at Dubai Hills Mall, I would not be surprised if we get a few approaches.

“Clearly, if we could get a second location at The Dubai Mall, it sure would be a good fit. The current one we have – at the entrance from the fountain – is on about 100-120 square metres. We need more space.”

A taste of Tim Hortons’ Dubai Hills Mall outlet should be enough to convince those mall managements.