Sunday, March 23, 2014

Good Gas Station Coffee? Say it Ain't So!

Tim Hortons on UrbanspoonThis past week I found myself on Bank Street for a number of meetings.  In the mornings I stopped by Tim Hortons (450 Bank Street, Ottawa) interestingly enough within a busy downtown Esso station.   Sure Tim Hortons has lots of counters within Esso stations across southern Ontario, but this Tim Hortons on Bank Street at Gladstone is unique in the mornings.

With an OC Transpo bus stop out front with route 7 heading to Carleton University many students use the Tim Hortons for a dose of morning java before boarding the bus to school. Thus, this coffee counter can be busy in the mornings with not only students but also motorists looking to fill up, grab a coffee and head to work downtown.

I visited this Tim Hortons location numerous times Monday through Thursday shortly after 8 A.M. each morning.  Each visit their is a line up of about five customers at the coffee counter and none at the gas station attendent's counter.  In fact, the gas station attendent looks like the famed Maytag repaireman waiting for customers to pay for their gas while the 3 Tim Hortons employees are hopping.

I usually wait patiently in the moderately paced line until I get to the counter.  There I give my order to the cashier....

The Order: 1 Medium Black coffee.

...pay and move along in orderly fashion behind the customer in front of me to pick up my drink.

Thursday morning was quite interesting.  During the week the cashier would take the order, your cash and then you would move along.  Your cup would be poured and, if needed, cream and sugar added either by that same employee or the next one who would put lids on your order and provide a tray if needed.

Thursday after putting in my order and handing over my cash, the line came to a standstill. They were out of fresh brewed coffee.  The line had moved so fast the single coffee machine couldn't brew the coffee fast enough.  A short two minute wait ensued stopping this efficient production line in its tracks.  I smiled at the nice problem Tim Hortons was having.

The coffee each day was a nice hot and freshly brewed black coffee poured by employees who seemed to care that you received a fresh cup in a timely as manner as humanly possible.

Overall, this Tim Hortons is the total opposite of traditional gas station coffee.  Fast, friendly service accompanied with fresh brewed coffee.  They do well here for the set up they have but perhaps a full Tim Hortons restaurant could be constructed either here or nearby.  Sales would definitely go up on a per customer basis for sure. Good gas station coffee? It is so!

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