Tims pours a great cup

Tim Hortons is voted best place to meet for coffee in Nanaimo in the Best of the City 2012 survey.

Gloria Sackey’s friendly smile welcomes customers to the Southgate Tim Hortons.

Gloria Sackey’s friendly smile welcomes customers to the Southgate Tim Hortons.

A bright, friendly smile is the first thing customers see when they walk into the Tim Hortons at Southgate mall.

It’s no wonder then that the Nanaimo locations which make up part of the national chain of restaurants were chosen as the Best Place to Meet for Coffee in the News Bulletin’s annual Best of the City reader survey.

Operations manager Ken Jones said the goal is to make customers’ experience personal and enjoyable every time they walk through the door.

Employees learn regular customers’ names and vice versa.

“It’s kind of like a ‘welcome home’ kind of message,” he said.

Customers appreciate it, and reward the restaurant with up to four visits a day, from morning coffee at the drive-thru, to lunch, afternoon coffee and dessert.

“We have very loyal customers,” Jones said. “We know a lot of them by name.”

It’s also a meeting place for groups, such as a custom car club, ladies in the red hat society and out-of-town guests enjoying nearby Living Forest campground.

The family atmosphere extends to the staff as well, who get together for summer kayaking, bowling and an annual Christmas party.

The restaurant offers sandwiches, soups and even lasagne, but it still comes down to the coffee, which is guaranteed 20 minutes fresh.

“Coffee is what we do – everyone pours coffee,” Jones said.

Nanaimo features seven Tim Hortons locations. For more information, please visit www.timhortons.ca.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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