US foodservice giant Wendy’s expects to boost the number of its Tim Hortons doughnut shops by one third by 2005.

This would see the Canadian chain grow to more than 3000 stores. Wendy’s, which acquired Tim Hortons in 1995, already operates nearly 2,200 doughnut shops, of which 2,050 are in Canada. It plans to open 170-180 news stores in Canada in each of the next few years.

The vast majority of company profits are still derived from the company’s hamburger restaurants, but sales growth at Tim Hortons has been outstripping the core burger operation.

“We have a history of steady growth, with a substantial expansion into new and existing markets within the last ten years or so,” commented Paul House, who heads the Tim Hortons chain. “We still have plenty of room to grow in our newer markets, which are Western Canada, Quebec and, of course, the US, as well as in urban centers such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.”

The group will open four stores in Rochester, New York, this autumn to up the pace of its expansion in the US, where Tim Hortons has a presence in just three markets – Buffalo, New York; Colombus, Ohio; and Detroit. The group’s 145 US doughnut stores are expected to multiply to 170-175 this year.

The group is responding to aggressive expansion moves by rival US doughnut chain Krispy Kreme, which moved into Canada last year.