May 26, 2009

New Self-Order Deli Trial Kiosk at Tim Horton's

tim-hortons-sm.jpgNew proof-of-concept going on Tim Horton's in Canada. Sounds like application still needs some tuning. Note the credit card terminal appended to the unit as well. 

Triple, triple toil and trouble at Tim Hortons test kiosk

At the Tim Hortons outlet at Bloor St. W. and Dufferin St., the company is testing a self-order kiosk. It is supposed to make ordering more efficient.

May 26, 2009 04:30 AM
Comments on this story (4)
Source Link

A new "self-order kiosk" was set up at my neighbourhood Tim Hortons and I was eager to try it.

Only the second self-order kiosk in Canada, the new machine is a guinea pig in the downtown area (the first is across from the Tim Hortons headquarters in Oakville) with an aim to make ordering faster, more efficient and with less human contact than ever before.

As I walked into the Tims at 1094 Bloor St W., one block east of Dufferin St., I couldn't help but laugh at my fellow caffeine addicts all lined up, knowing I would soon overtake them thanks to this new technology.

Stepping up to the streamlined machine with its thin neck and flat-panel screen, I read that I needed a Tim Card or MasterCard to operate it so I had to line up anyway. After my Tim Card purchase, I swiped the machine to begin my order, a large triple triple coffee (yes, I know I have a problem, and that was only emphasized when "double" was the largest dosage that came up on the screen).

After pressing the cream and sugar buttons three times each, I wondered what my aunt would do; she only likes a half-measure of cream (not half a cup of cream, which is what sometimes what she ends up with).

All of the regular menu items – doughnuts, bagels, sandwiches, soups – appeared on the screen as well but subtle changes in an order can be overlooked.

For example, hash browns are available only in the morning although the machine offers the item throughout the day.

Unfortunately, I did not see the "coffee refill" button at the bottom of my screen and did not utilize the reusable cup I brought along so I was given paper (a large refill is 10 cents less).

I was also surprised that modern technology did not offer an array of languages my order could be taken in, considering this Tim Hortons is in a predominantly Spanish-speaking neighbourhood and – bonjour! – Canada has two official languages. In fairness, Tim's head office says the machine is only in the test phase and, if successful, it will be able to offer service in several languages.

As I walked up to the counter to get my order, essentially re-lining up to get my coffee, triple-tripling my time there, the friendly and very human Tim Hortons employee sincerely apologized for the wait.

I bet a machine could never do that.

Posted by staff at May 26, 2009 10:56 AM