EDMONTON—Does a double-double travel? Do doughnut deliveries make cents?
On Monday, Canada’s coffee shop joined Skip the Dishes, the popular food courier service, to test deliveries in three Canadian cities — Vancouver, Ottawa and Edmonton.
Fans of both cheap coffee and extreme convenience, the StarMetro Edmonton team put Tim Hortons’ system to the test Friday morning by placing an order to a location in downtown Edmonton, one of 148 participating in the pilot, just five blocks away from the newsroom.
Placed at 10:50 a.m., the order included six cups of coffee, three cups of steeped tea, a toasted bagel with cream cheese, hash browns, and a dozen assorted doughnuts. Three minutes later, Tim Hortons, responsible for packaging and accuracy, confirmed the order.
The food was scheduled to arrive 31 minutes later.
Within 20 minutes, the Skip The Dishes mobile app announced the driver — a courier we’ll refer to as Driver 1, with a history of 27 deliveries — was 16 blocks away and en route to the eatery.
However, at 11:26 a.m., two minutes past the expected arrival time, Driver 1 was no closer to the pickup point than StarMetro was to its order, and shortly after that, disappeared from the tracking map entirely.
The order appeared to be lost in limbo until 11:47 a.m., when a new driver, Driver 2, a delivery veteran credited on the app with more than 1,000 Skip The Dishes deliveries, was dispatched to pick up the slack.
At 12:15 p.m., 51 minutes after the order was originally scheduled to arrive, Driver 2 appeared with three neatly packed and sealed large paper takeout bags containing the beverages which, unlike the food, were still warm to the touch.
“It’s just bread,” editor Alex Boyd said of her everything bagel, which was supposed to be twice-toasted. “I’m so sad.”
Taryn Moorehouse, a StarMetro account manager, received her medium steeped tea with two milk and one sugar with slightly better, if lukewarm, spirits.
“It has the uniform taste and texture that you’d expect from Tim Hortons,” Moorehouse said. “It didn’t taste like it had been sitting, either. And I can tell.”
According to StarMetro’s infrared thermometer, the temperature of the small black coffee clocked in at 55 C, which the office agreed was both cool enough to sip comfortably, and warm enough to enjoy.
The missing doughnuts, however, left a hole in the office’s collective hearts and stomachs, especially those who had banked their breakfast in lieu of a sweeter promise.
A Skip The Dishes customer service representative, available through the company’s mobile applications, quickly apologized for the slip-up and refunded StarMetro for the $40 order, which included a $3.45 delivery fee, tip, and GST.
A replacement dozen, however, would have to be ordered separately, and was. It arrived 44 minutes later.
At the end of the ordeal, StarMetro concluded that, dollars to doughnuts, Tim Hortons’ coffee could travel the distance. But minutes to Timbits, the food left something to be desired.
With files from The Canadian Press