May 22, 2014 2:48 pm

New Tim Hortons app aims to speed up wait times in line

Tim Hortons hopes it can speed up queue wait times through a new smartphone app that can process purchases quickly.

Tim Hortons

Stuck in line again at Tim Hortons? There’s an app for that.

Tim Hortons is looking to its customers’ phones to help cut down on the amount of time they spend in line in its coffee shops.

The country’s biggest coffee chain said Thursday the wraps have come off a new and improved smartphone application that allows users to pay for their double-double or donut using a barcode generated by the app.

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A pilot was launched in December and a Tim Hortons spokesperson said 95 per cent of its 3,500 or so Canadian locations and 870 U.S.-based stores have been equipped to scan the codes and register a sale.

Tim Hortons is searching for ways to speed up lengthy wait times across its chain – a sign of how popular Tim Hortons remains with Canadians, but also a nagging problem that’s crimped growth and aggravated customers.

The “TimmyMe” app, which is available on iPhones, BlackBerries and phones using Google’s Android software, is one way to address that.

A press release said the payment option is “designed to improve speed of service,” presumably by shaving time spent fidgeting with cash and change.

Purchases can be made after a user registers a Tim Hortons prepaid card on the app. Each subsequent purchase made through the app is deducted from the balance which can be topped up through the app as well.

READ MORE: Tim Hortons rolls out ‘tap and pay’ app for smartphones

Rival Starbucks has countered similar congestion woes with its own barcode app for smartphones.

David Clanachan, Tim Hortons’ chief operating officer said in December the chain hoped customers would adopt the mobile payment method to achieve the same reduced wait times.

“Mobile payment is one area that we feel can help streamline the average time spent at the order counter,” Clanachan said.

Shorter wait times – both in the store as well as drive-thru — is one area among many Tim Hortons is looking to shake up and improve upon as it confronts a tougher period of growth across the industry.

READ MORE: Can a crispy chicken sandwich end a sales rut at Tim Hortons? 

Tims also has more specific problems it’s trying to address. The number of transactions at Canadian locations has been in decline for some time as rivals like McDonald’s have stepped up pressure to win more breakfast business.

Tims new mobile push combined with other measures such as a focus on winning more lunchtime customers, is aimed at reversing that trend.

WATCH: Tim Hortons changing up menu items. Again. 

© Shaw Media, 2014

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