Second Cup

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Second Cup Coffee Co.
Public (TSXSCU)
Founded1975; 44 years ago (1975) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Mississauga, Ontario
Key people
Garry Macdonald (CEO)
  • Coffee beverages
  • smoothies
  • tea
  • baked goods
  • sandwiches
RevenueDecrease CAN$23.63 million (2017)[1]
Increase CAN$976 thousand (2017)[1]
Decrease CAN$-3.09 million (2017)[1]
Total assetsCAN$44.7 million (2017)[1]
Total equityCAN$28.26 million (2017)[1]
A Raspberry Tea Chiller and White Chocolate Chiller at Second Cup.

Second Cup Coffee Co. is a Canadian coffee retailer, operating more than 300 cafes across the country.[2] Its headquarters are in Mississauga, Ontario.[3] Its stores sell hot and cold beverages, pastries, snacks, pre-packaged food items, hot and cold sandwiches, and drinkware including mugs and tumblers. It competes with Starbucks, Tim Hortons and McDonald's, which also feature espresso-based specialty drinks.

Second Cup has expanded its franchises to the United States, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Angola, Ghana, Lithuania,[4] Romania, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Philippines, Bangladesh and Poland.

Tassimo Second Cup beverages were launched in September 2012.[5] Tassimo T65 are now sold at every Second Cup location.


Second Cup was founded in 1975 by Tom Culligan and Frank O'Dea in Toronto, Canada. Culligan eventually purchased O'Dea's shares. After building it to a 150-store chain, he sold it in 1988 to Michael Bregman.

As chairman and CEO, Khalil Al Gawad took Second Cup public in 1993 and in 2002, sold the company to Cara Operations Limited.[6]

In November 2006, Cara sold it to Dinecorp Hospitality, which was controlled by former Cara CEO Gabe Tsampalieros, who became chairman of Second Cup. Tsampalieros died on March 11, 2009.[7] The trademark rights were subsequently split between Canada (The Second Cup Ltd.) and international (The Second Cup Coffee Company Inc.). Stacey Mowbray was head of the Canadian company and Jim Ragas leads the international company.[8] Stacey Mowbrey, Second Cup CEO from 2008-2014, claimed that Second Cup was in “growth mode.”[9] One of her goals was to obtain environmental and fair trade certifications for every coffee blend on the Second Cup menu.

Second Cup was featured in an episode of Undercover Boss (Canadian TV series) which aired in March 2012 on the W Network.[10] The episode is under CEO Stacey Mowbray's direction. She demonstrates her effort to inspire change from the perspective of her frontline employees, and promote Second Cup's image as a company that cares and provides the best café experience. In April 2015, Second Cup launched Rewards program, which allow its users to earn points using a mobile app.[11]

Alix Box was the CEO and president at The Second Cup Ltd. from 2014 until suddenly leaving in May 2017.[12][13] She was temporarily replaced by Garry MacDonald.[14]

On April 12, 2018, The Second Cup Ltd.(TSX:SCU) board chairman Michael Bregman announced an agreement with National Access Cannabis Corp. to develop and convert a network of recreational pot stores. This would mean turning Second Cup locations into Recreational Cannabis dispensaries in western Canada, there will be no cannabis related products sold at any Second Cup Cafes. This strategic alliance is an opportunity for Second Cup to leverage its valuable real estate assets to drive value for the franchisees, and does not change plans to grow the Second Cup brand and sales through new product innovation, and by opening new cafés across Canada.

In August 2018, the company was already considering which of its locations in Ontario might be suitable as cannabis retail stores as an alternative to their current use, in conjunction with National Access Cannabis.[15] (Recreational use of Cannabis in Canada was to be legal as of 17 October 2018 and Ontario planned to allow retailers to sell the product starting 1 April 2019.)[16] The plan was conditional on Second Cup receiving the necessary license from the province and approval from franchisees and landlords.[17]

Second Cup coffee[edit]

Coffee bean production[edit]

During the harvesting process, Second Cup accepts two methods of coffee cherry processing to separate the coffee bean from the cherry. The first process is called dry or unwashed. The cherries are sun dried and then milled to remove the outside layers. The resulting coffee has greater body and less acidity. The second process is called wet or washed whereby the seeds are squished out from the skin of the cherry. The seeds are then soaked in a fermentation tank to remove the outside layers. The resulting coffee is consistent and more acidic.

In the coffee roasting process, Second Cup uses batch roasting, small batches of 100–200 kg of seeds being placed in individual roasters. This method ensures greater quality control compared to other methods such as continuous roasting.[18]

Coffee bean regions[edit]

Second Cup's coffee portfolio consists of five different categories organized by region and whether there is added flavor. The categories are called: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Multi-Region, and Flavored. Second Cup receives coffee blends from a wide range of countries.

Panama is Central America's smallest coffee-growing country, and Second Cup's El Toucan blend is harvested from the volcanic mountain of Panama. Colombia has 12% of the world's coffee supply and is where Second Cup gets its San Agustin blend from. Second Cup's Fazenda Vista Alegre blend is from Brazil.[18]

Rainforest Alliance[edit]

The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization that works to conserve biodiversity and promote the fair treatment of workers. Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee farms must meet standards that include the protection of farms, soils, waterways, and wildlife; the workers are in safe working conditions; and the workers enjoy good housing, medical care, and access to schools for their children.[19][20] 80% of Second Cup coffees are Rainforest Alliance Certified. CEO Stacey Mowbrey's goal is to obtain environmental and fair trade certifications for every blend on Second Cup's menu.[9] The following certifications will allow this goal to be reached.

As of fall 2011, Second Cup offers 10 Whole Leaf Tea Blends and Herbal Tisanes that are Fair Trade Certified.[21] These include: Earl Grey tea, English breakfast tea, English Breakfast Decaffeinated, green tea, Jasmine tea, Chai tea, Wildberry, Chamomile tea, Mint tea, and Holiday Blend.

Second Cup firebombing incident[edit]

In 2001, Rhéal Mathieu, a member of Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) who in 1967 was sentenced to nine years in prison for terrorist activities including murder, was convicted of firebombing three Second Cup locations in Montreal. The responsibility for the bombings was claimed by the Brigade d'autodéfense du français (BAF) (translated as Self Defence Brigade of French). BAF claimed it had targeted the stores because of the company's use of its incorporated English name "Second Cup" demanding inclusion of French in the name of the business. After the media coverage of the fire bombings, many Second Cup locations in Quebec changed their signs to Les cafés Second Cup.[22][23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "The Second Cup Ltd. 2017 Annual Report". The Second Cup Ltd. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  2. ^ "Franchising - Second Cup". Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Contact Us Archived 2011-09-11 at the Wayback Machine." Second Cup. Retrieved on September 13, 2011. "MAILING ADDRESS: Second Cup Ltd. 6303 Airport Road Mississauga, Ontario L4V 1R8" and "6303 Airport Road, 2nd Floor"
  4. ^ "Canada's Second Cup opens first café in Lithuania". Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Tassimo Launch « Second Cup". Archived from the original on 2012-09-19. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  6. ^ "Board of Directors". Ideaca. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  7. ^ "CEO Gabe Tsampalieros dies at age 61 following illness". The Star. Toronto. March 12, 2009.
  8. ^ "The Second Cup Ltd. Announces Organizational Change". CNW Group. January 28, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Second wind for Second Cup?". Canadian Business. 2011-04-25. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  10. ^ "Shows". W Network. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  11. ^ "Second Cup launches new Rewards program, available on Android and iOS | MobileSyrup". MobileSyrup. 2015-04-27. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  12. ^ "Stocks". Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Second Cup CEO Alix Box leaves company suddenly". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  14. ^ "Second Cup CEO Alix Box leaves company". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  15. ^ National Access Cannabis and Second Cup announce updated plans to build retail META stores across Ontario 15 August 2018]
  16. ^ "Ontario won't cap the number of cannabis retail licences". Financial Post. 26 September 2018. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  17. ^ "Second Cup says it may convert Ontario coffee shops to cannabis stores". CBC News. 22 August 2018. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  18. ^ a b "« Second Cup". Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  19. ^ "Home". Rainforest Alliance. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  20. ^ Tim Hortons (2013-06-30). "Corporate Profile". Tim Hortons. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  21. ^ "Our Responsibility « Second Cup". Archived from the original on 2014-03-13. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  22. ^ "Second Cup bomber jailed". CBC News. July 6, 2001. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  23. ^ Banerjee, Sidhartha (October 18, 2007). "Second Cup to review Quebec signs after outcry". The Canadian Press. Retrieved November 18, 2011.

External links[edit]