They invite you in with what you already know, the glass display filled with glazed sweets and pastries, a server ready to take your order.
But there's something different about this Tim Hortons store, which National Observer reported on exclusively earlier this month.
The company, a Canadian darling that has lost some sheen since being bought by Brazilian private equity and merged with Burger King in 2014, is gambling on an exotic collection of specialty food, coffee and tea items to entice the curious and the discerning to take another look at a familiar brand.
Those doughnuts are topped with Froot Loops and chocolate ganache and bacon. There are celebration towers of doughy sweetness designed for office birthdays and farewells, and gourmet Timbits caked in crumbled Oreo. And yes, you can still get your trusty double-double and be done with it.
The store will also offer its patrons a $2 reusable cup and feature a new takeaway cup — not plastic-free, but made of 30 per cent recycled material.
Tim Hortons hopes you'll stay though, and learn to drink coffee "in the proper way" as one consultant to the makeover told this reporter.
Around the corner is a coffee bar capable of delivering caffeine in seven different ways, including a high-end La Marzocco espresso machine and a nitrogen-infusion bar to add the gas to cold brew, lattes and fruit drinks. A rotating small-batch bean will be offered.
It's an innovation lab that celebrates the company's passion for hockey, doughnuts and coffee, says Axel Schwan, global head of marketing at Tim Hortons, which is part of the Restaurant Brands International quick-serve restaurant conglomeration (QSR is its ticker on the Toronto Stock Exchange).
Executives a couple of floors up in the Exchange Tower will get immediate feedback from customers on what has the potential to go national, he said. The most popular of the so-called “Dream Donuts” able to be quickly made available nationally while other innovations such as nitro-infused beverages might take longer to expand out given equipment costs.
"We have to evolve as a brand," Schwan said.
But the company is also doubling down on its affiliation with the most Canadian of pastimes, hockey, with one company representative pointing out that the curve of the bar resembles that of a hockey rink and that the shade of blue used for some seating is that of the Maple Leafs, for whom Tim Horton himself played.
The company operates an almost entirely franchise model but has had strained relations with at least some of them in the years since 3G Capital acquired and merged the Canadian chain with Burger King (it later added Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen).
But Schwan said the situation had improved in the last year.
"It's about the right communication," Schwan said of the company's relationship with its franchisees.
“I think the channels are super open," he said, mentioning regular engagement with the elected advisory board.
"We have a very strong relationship with our franchisees; I think we've come a very long way, and I'm proud of the relationship with have with our owners."