Tim Hortons is singing Justin Bieber’s praises Tuesday because his line of donuts just turned around the Canadian restaurant’s fortunes.
The coffee chain’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International, reported that sales rose 10.3% at stores open at least a year in the fourth quarter of 2021. That reversed a 11% decline for the same quarter a year ago.
In November 2021, Tim Hortons jumped on the celebrity meal bandwagon to help boost its bottom line. It needed the starpower because sales have been sagging at the chain because people were working from home and disrupted people’s pre-pandemic behavior of stopping by the coffee chain for breakfast. It has also been working to improve its core menu, upgrade its loyalty program and enhance its digital strategy.
A limited-time donut hole line, called “Timbiebs Timbits” collection consisted of three donut flavors that was created by Bieber, including chocolate white fudge, sour cream chocolate chip, and birthday cake waffle, as well as branded merch.
The Timbiebs promotion “was one of the more successful traffic-driving initiatives in recent memory and outperformed our internal expectations,” said RBI CEO Jose Cil during a Tuesday analyst call discussing the company’s financial results.
The collaboration led to “unprecedented social engagement and increased appeal with younger guests,” said Cil. “I’m a Belieber,” he added, using the term coined by Bieber’s fans. “You can expect to see more from this exciting partnership in the year ahead.”
The Canadian singer said that “doing a Tim Hortons collab has always been a dream of mine,” when the partnership launched, adding that he “grew up” eating at the chain.
McDonald’s (MCD) jump-started the celebrity meal trend in 2020 and it became a boon for the brand. Other chains copied the trend, including Tim Hortons’ sister brand Burger King where sales in the US rose 2% in the fourth quarter.
Restaurant Brands International (QSR) owns Burger King, Tim Hortons, Popeyes. The company’s total fourth quarter revenue rose to $1.55 billion — up from $1.36 billion a year earlier. The stock was up nearly 4% in early trading.
— CNN Business’s Danielle Wiener-Bronner contributed to this report.