Horton’s Tests Beyond Meat Breakfast Sandwiches

Most of the major Fast Food chains are now offering, or test marketing, Vegetarian or Vegan Meat substitutes on their Burger menus. It’s the latest effort to appeal to a broader market. Now, Tim Horton’s has joined the fray, testing a selection of Beyond Meat Sausage menu items…

Tim’s new Beyond Meat Breakfast menu items: (l-r) The Farmer’s Wrap,
the Beyond Meat Sausage Breakfast Sandwich, and
the Vegan Breakfast Sandwich.

Various Tex-Mex eateries have been offering Veggie-based Tacos and Burritos featuring products from two or three U.S.-based manufacturers. A&W has led the way with the launch two months ago of a new Beyond Meat Sausage Breakfast Sandwich, but Tim’s must have been watching that move closely, and must have been impressed by the ‘Dubbs’ move.

The truth is, Tim’s says it’s been been working with the Beyond Meat folks on this for over a year. They must have felt more than a little upstaged by the ‘Dubbs!

Not wanting to be left behind, the company will try out three new menu items – a Beyond Meat ‘Sausage’ Breakfast Sandwich, a Vegan Sausage Sandwich, and a Beyond Meat Farmers Wrap – at 60 Toronto-area outlets starting immediately. If the Veggie Protein-based products are a hit, the company says it’s poised to roll them out across the board in Canada by the end of summer. Better late than never, but not too late, they hope.

The move is seen by some as another attempt by Horton’s – still recovering from  a two-year battle with its franchisees and a bad case of sagging sales – to catch up with the pack. The company launched an initiative last year to update the decor at Tim’s locations, and revitalize their menus and service model.

An obvious way to go

Tim’s will be one of the last major take-out chains to introduce Veggie-based Protein products to its menu, in an effort to cash on on the Vegetarian boom that’s headlining the food scene just now.

This past week, California-based Beyond Meat became the first maker of Veggie Protein Meat alternatives to go public with an initial Public Offering opening at (US)$25 per share soaring to over (US)$70 per share within hours. Obviously, investors are confident that the Vegetarian Meat Alternative sector will continue to carve out a huge share of the Fast Food market.

Horton’s confident, but cautious

A&W actually débuted Beyond Meat products with the release of a Beyond Meat Burger earlier last year. It was a big hit, but supplies were limited and the menu item quickly sold out. It’s expected to be back soon, as a permanent offering, once supply issues are ironed out. Also, Tim’s sister company, Burger King announced days ago that its expanding the rollout of its Impossible Burger Whopper to more stores over the next few weeks.

So… Will Tim’s also add a Beyond Meat Burger to its line?

“There’s nothing slated. There’s nothing lined up. But we’re going to continue to do research,” Horton’s CEO Mike Hancock told the Financial Post. “If guests really demand the product […] it could evolve into other lines.”

For now, though, Horton’s is sticking with what it knows best and staying away from competition with BK. It’s probably a good idea not to promote conflicts and squabbles within the Restaurant Brands International (RBI) family.

As for the apparent face-off with A&W over the Alternative  Breakfast Sandwich market, Hancock says, “[T]here is “plenty of room in the market for breakfast sandwiches. […] We’ve got 400 restaurants. […] We’re going to be able to bring this type of product to more guests than […] our competitors are.”

For the record…

Maggie J.’s FFB has has reviewed and rated the three top conventional Sausage Breakfast Sandwiches in Canada: McDonald’s Sausage and Egg McMuffin, the Dubbs’ Sausage, Cheese and Egger, and Horton’s classic Hot Breakfast Sandwich. We rated A&W’s offering both the largest and the most appealing (freshest) of the three, followed by Tim’s and McD’s, in that order.

~ Maggie J.