Tim Hortons getting out of the ice cream business

Two P.E.I. Cold Stone Creamery locations will close as of March 31

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on February 20, 2014
Mark Bezpieczny came from Oakville, Ont., to train Water Street Tim Hortons employees for the new Cold Stone Creamery store that opened Sunday. The training includes how to sing, dance and toss ice cream in the air while making a customers order. AMBER NICHOLSON/JOURNAL PIONEER

P.E.I.'s two Cold Stone Creamery locations will serve their last scoop of ice cream on March 31.

Tim Hortons Inc. announced Thursday it is pulling the ice cream brand from its Canadian restaurants, a move the company says will allow the franchise owners to focus on their core business.

The two Island locations are located on St. Peter's Road in Charlottetown and Water Street in Summerside.

"Both locations on P.E.I. will be transitioning from the Cold Stone brand so we're going to be supporting that until March 31 at which point there will be a renovation and we'll be looking at increased capacity in our restaurants,'' said Olga Petrycki, public affairs officer with Tim Hortons Inc. in Toronto.

The chain's decision to end ice cream sales in Canada cost Tim Hortons about $19 million in the fourth quarter but will help simplify its menu, which has grown far beyond coffee and doughnuts. Its partnership with the American dairy chain Cold Stone Creamery, which began in 2009, will continue in the U.S. Tim Hortons locations.

Petrycki hinted that there are more changes coming for the franchise, although she wouldn't commit to where those changes would take place or whether any of the P.E.I. locations will be part of it.

"Where possible and where the (customer traffic) volume is there we'll be looking at beverage only express lines to improve speed of service and efficiency,'' she said.

There will also be changes to the menu although specific details are being guarded until the company CEO outlines plans for refreshing the company's image and operations, amid increased competition for coffee drinkers, on Tuesday.

"We'll be announcing our strategic plan for the next few years and that's when you'll hear all about it.''

As for the impact on Tim Hortons employees at the Charlottetown and Summerside ice cream locations, Petrycki would only say they will make every effort to ensure it is minimal.

"Unfortunately, we can't discuss specific personnel matters but efforts are always made and will be made to retain team members of this restaurant on the business.''

Tim Hortons also reported Thursday that it had $898.5 million of revenue during the fourth quarter, up 10.7 per cent from a year earlier, but a smaller profit than analysts were expecting.

Tim Hortons had 69 cents per share of net earnings attributable to common shareholders, up from 65 cents a year in the fourth quarter of 2012 but below analyst estimates of 77 cents per share.

(Includes files from The Canadian Press)