ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Tim Hortons’ Implements Video Technology to Decrease Service Time
Problem: Tim Hortons, a retailer of coffee and doughnuts with over 3,000 stores across North America, wanted to shorten service time in its storefront operations.
Solution: Purchased a video system to track and accurately monitor storefront service time.
Results: Storefront service times decreased 30 percent, leading to a peak sale increase of 17 percent.
Tim Hortons is a franchise network of over 3,000 stores across North America. In the early part of 2009, the retail chain was looking to make improvements in service time in their storefront operations.
The company turned to i3 International, a designer, manufacturer and supplier of digital video technologies. Realizing the benefits and merits of the measures for speed of service in its drive-thru, Tim Hortons wanted to implement the same kind of performance feedback and goal-setting program for its storefront. Tim Hortons knew that the driving force for return business in the quick-service industry is quick speed of service combined with accuracy, quality and friendliness.
Using i3 International's QueueTime System, Tim Hortons was able to track speed of service, traffic count, up-sale data and loss prevention. Here's how QueueTime works: QueueTime is a combination of i3’s data management feature PACDM and it’s video analytics software, VideoLogix. VideoLogix is able to accurately distinguish humans and vehicles and analyze movement patterns. For human detection, VideoLogix uses a neural network (computer artificial intelligence) to recognize shape, edge, color, direction and the velocity of a moving object. An object is then classified as human, vehicle or unknown. Movement of objects are tracked, an algorithm is applied and the data is then combined with point of sale or other peripheral data to produce management reports.
Tim Hortons’ store district managers, in collaboration with store owners or managers, created motivational programs for staff to improve performance in one of the key areas identified. The Performance Monitor tool has several key measures in combination with reports each manager pulled weekly to review with staff. Once managers read the reports, benchmark measures could be set. Employees were encouraged to view the Performance Monitor regularly to improve performance on metrics such as service time.
A huge contributing factor to achieving service-time goals was how Tim Hortons motivated its store managers and employees. The program had specific, measurable goals, and employees were motivated to meet those goals and continually improve with incentives. Tim Hortons found its most success when it combined creative contests and competition with effective recognition programs.
Creating internal competition enabled greater results, and once the system was integrated into Tim Hortons’ central database system and shared with management teams, it was able to compare performance of one store vs. another for more meaningful motivational incentives. QueueTime and Performance Monitor enabled immediate performance feedback so staff could see their results daily, creating a powerful motivator to achieve corporate and store owner objectives.
The result was that a select Tim Hortons’ store saw its storefront service time decrease 30 percent. The study also showed a correlation between increased sales and decreased service times. From Aug. 10 to Sept. 30, service time decreased by 30 percent while sales increased by 17 percent. In high traffic stores such as Tim Hortons, improving service time can increase its capacity to serve more customers. Over time, the tendency will be for customers to develop a preference for the store location with better speed of service, thereby increasing overall sales.