Open-concept seating, red bar stools and plenty of wood accents are among the interior design changes coming to Tim Hortons locations across Canada in a renovation billed at more than half a billion dollars.

The popular coffee shop chain announced the $700-million major investment Tuesday. The updated design will be rolled out across a majority of Tim Hortons locations nation-wide over the next four years.

The company released photos of the redesign, which includes cherry-red bar stools, high-top tables in a lighter shade of wood and brassy metallic light fixtures.


The company said the stores will be designed with “natural looking, lighter and more inviting materials.” Glass, wood and dark metal are a common theme.


Stores will undergo renovations both inside and out. One mock-up photo shows a combination of wood paneling and white brick on the store’s exterior. The company is keeping its red-cursive logo.


New artwork will be installed in stores. A wall mosaic including donuts, a mixer and some of the brand’s vintage packaging will grace the walls, and the company has commissioned a portrait of its namesake, hockey player Tim Horton.


The open-concept seating plan is meant to “foster a sense of community at the core of the Tim Hortons brand,” the company said in a press release.


The company said restaurant owners are also investing in the $700-million project.

The announcement comes during a lag in business for the brand, which last month recorded a fifth consecutive quarter of slumping sales.

Some Tim Hortons franchisees have voiced frustration with parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc. (RBI). A minimum wage increase of about 20 per cent in Ontario prompted the company to hike prices 10 per cent on all menu items -- a move that some franchisees argue isn’t enough to offset the change.

Some franchisees responded by cutting back dental and health-care benefits, triggering a wave of protests across the province.

RBI, which dictates prices at Tim Hortons stores, has denounced the franchisees’ actions and refused to further increase prices.

The decision has prompted criticism from the Great White North Franchisee Association, an unsanctioned franchisee group.

The association advised its members -- which make up about half of all Tim Hortons Canadian franchisees -- not to sign or agree to anything until more details are disclosed.

"This is just one more in the string of ill-conceived programs brought forward by a group of executives who do not understand foodservice, franchise operations or marketing," reads a letter to the association’s members.

With files from The Canadian Press