Tim Hortons

What’s not to like about Tim Hortons? Good coffee. Good donuts (although Suzy Q‘s are better). Decent prices. Sure they’ve made a couple of mis-steps along the way to becoming a fast food company with 4700 outlets and $3 billion in revenue, but I have no qualms about patronizing it.

Digression: Their most serious blunder occurred thirty years ago when they went from the shapeless apple fritter (each one an adventure!) to the apple dutchie (although it’s still called a fritter). I haven’t had an apple fritter since.

But they may have lost their way. I see clouds on the horizon. Straws accumulating on camels. Trouble brewing. I fear that the bloom may be off the roast.

I go to Tim Horton’s four or five times a week for a coffee, and I use the drive-through almost exclusively. Service is fast and efficient.

Whinging Digression: I recently walked into a Tim Hortons to buy a coffee. There were eight people behind the counter: five(!) were hanging around the drive-through window, two were cleaning/stocking/preparing/managing; and one was serving customers at the counter. There were five people ahead of me. I could have had my coffee faster if I had walked home and driven back!

But they are losing sight of the fact that the whole point of a drive-through is to serve as many people as possible in as short a time as possible!

  • They now allow debit/credit cards in the drive-through. It can double double the time that it takes each customer to move on. Why not cash only? Or better yet, tap only!
  • They don’t limit the size of orders at the drive-through. I have waited patiently (unless Drake is playing on the radio) while a seemingly unending stream of bags is passed to the driver. Why not limit the orders that can be placed at the drive through? Even an optional “Please pop into the store to pick up your order” would be helpful.
  • They have begun to aggressively upsell. I typically end my coffee order with the phrase “That’s all Thanks”, but recently they have been ignoring my polite attempt to move things along by offering suggestions to enhance my dining experience.

Digression: The drive-through window is effectively a grocery store with one checkout line, and no way to assess the people ahead of line. My hard-earned skill at assessing supermarket checkout lines is useless here. Which may be the subconscious driver of my ire.

Service is getting slower and slower. At some point I will seriously consider changing my coffee provider. Which will be a significant hit to my lifestyle; no one else has Roll Up The Rim!


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