The death knell for Tim Hortons drive-thrus?
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • April 03, 2012 @ 9:52am
Saskatoon, the largest city in Saskatchewan, Canada, is considering banning Tim Hortons drive-thrus as a result of the traffic concerns stemming from the chain’s popularity. Could this trickle down to Western New York?
The Toronto Star reports that Saskatoon’s city council is investigating the possibility of banning drive-thrus in any future Tim Hortons that lays roots in the city.
Saskatoon’s city transportation manager Angela Gardiner mentioned that the issue arose in a national transportation engineering conference in 2011, and while she’s not in favor of banning drive-thrus, she recognizes that a change may be necessary.
The argument is that long lines of customers waiting in the drive-thru—a regular occurrence most weekday mornings in both the U.S. and Canada—tend to clog main thoroughfares, resulting in dangerous driving situations and occasional rash decisions on the road. In addition to congested traffic, pollution concerns from several idling cars also support the argument for banning drive-thrus.
Brynn Burton, public relations manager for Tim Hortons U.S., doesn’t believe that Saskatoon’s decision will set a precedent for the chain’s restaurants state-side.
“I think this is a contained city issue [with Saskatoon],” Burton said in a phone call. “We look at [this] from a per location, per city perspective.”
What kind of impact would the loss of a drive-thru’s convenience entail for Tim Hortons? Zoning restrictions in Tolland, CT, according to a report from Tolland’s Patch.com site, have prevented a Dunkin’ Donuts from opening a drive-thru—and the business has suffered as a result.
If the Saskatoon city council cracks down on drive-thrus, will other cities follow suit?
(Header photo from Flickr / baekken.)