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  • 03.10.14

Infographic: Your Complete Guide To Ordering Coffee And Donuts At Tim Hortons

New site provides tips to Canada’s national brand obsession Tim Hortons.

As Western nations go, Canada and the U.S. are pretty similar. But while both span the width of the continent, boast geological and cultural diversity within their respective borders, and watch a lot of the same TV, there are some differences.

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One such difference is Tim Hortons. In most of its American locations, it’s the random “cafe & bake shop” that’s colored brown and replaced your Dunkin’ Donuts spot a few years ago. In Canada, it’s a cultural institution that owns 75% of the coffee market, has more outlets than McDonald’s and menu changes are national news. The coffee order term “double double” is actually in the dictionary.

But much like the fear of intimidation of your first bagel order in a New York deli (“Why is everyone yelling at me? What does scooped mean?”), knowing just how to get through the gauntlet of the Tim’s line can be a bit confusing for newcomers. But now Toronto-based digital agency Pilot Interactive has created a cool little tutorial for Tim’s n00bs, that isn’t officially associated with the brand at all.


Designer Tegan Mierle says the idea came about through her love of food illustration and data organization, and while getting her afternoon fix she saw an opportunity to showcase Tim Hortons culture in a slightly different and more contemporary context. “When I was 18 and first started drinking coffee, I had no idea what a regular coffee was and actually felt embarrassed to order–hopefully this site saves someone that embarrassment,” she says. “What’s really interesting to me about the Tim Hortons brand is that it is so accessible, honest, and class-agnostic. Your average Tim’s customer could be a billionaire entrepreneur or your Average Joe, and that’s something really special that I haven’t seen anywhere else.”

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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