Loyalty Programs: A Seattle Coffee Shop, Part 2

December 10, 2008

Gregory Heller commented on my earlier post about loyalty programs:

The benefit of the prepaid card to the customer is that they can buy it on their credit card, and it makes each coffee ‘purchase’ faster.

Making each purchase faster would be fantastic. However, the time savings may be canceled by the time waiting for the drink. The process goes:

Order in at counter;

Payment exchange at register;

Coffee out at adjacent counter.

In between Order In and Coffee Out, the customer’s order goes to the barista who makes said order. Payment exchange can happen concurrently with the coffee making process. Depending on order volume and type, either the payment step or the drink crafting step is the bottleneck.

Groundwork, Hollywood Location from An Bui

Groundwork, Hollywood Location from An Bui

Consultation with the baristas at the ever-helpful Groundwork in LA confirmed that the time associated with making a customer’s drink, on average, exceeds the time associated with processing payment.

For more on coffee cup management, check out Corey Ladas’ blog, Lean Software Engineering or his upcoming book, Scrumban.


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