Canadian chain Tim Hortons to expand into Georgia

15 restaurants planned for Atlanta and Columbus in the next five years

Canada geese might be flying north for the summer, but Canadian fast food chain Tim Hortons is headed south.

The coffee and bakery franchise announced Tuesday that Atlanta businessman Abid Khutliwala is leading the chain’s expansion into Georgia with a plan to open 15 stores in Atlanta and Columbus in the next five years.

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“I’ve been familiar with Tim Hortons ever since visiting Toronto years ago, and I really love the coffee. I think it will be the best coffee around,” Khutliwala said in a press release. “I’m very excited to introduce a new brand to Atlanta; one that locals will be happy to build into their routines.”

Khutliwala’s LinkedIn page says he is also a franchisee for Checkers and Popeyes fast food chains.

Although Tim Hortons — or just Tims, as it’s often called — brews nearly two-thirds of Canada’s coffee servings, its U.S. presence has been mostly in the Northeast and upper Midwest.

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“Atlanta is very diverse, and people who came from different places can thrive here,” said Khutliwala, who came here from India in 2000. “I think people here are open to trying something new, and even more, I think it’s just a good product that can stand up to competition, especially when you factor in the price. All of those factors, along with knowing RBI, just made this a simple decision.”

Exact locations of the new franchises have not yet been announced.