Stuck in line for food? Consider going elsewhere

Tim Hortons and Starbucks run lines, but many other options remain line-free

Lineups for food services on campus typically only appear at Starbucks at Tim Hortons (pictured). Other on-campus food services are usually free of lines at lunchtime. (Martin McFarlane/The Omega)

Lineups for food services on campus typically only appear at Starbucks at Tim Hortons (pictured). Other on-campus food services are usually free of lines at lunchtime. (Martin McFarlane/The Omega)

Looking for a place to grab a quick coffee and muffin before class? You should be able to squeeze a food stop in between classes at most spots on campus, but the more popular choices like Starbucks and Tim Hortons may make you late.

We decided to put wait times to the test, making 38 visits to five different spots on campus. Sample times were taken from Nov. 22 to 25 for Tim Hortons, Starbucks, The Upper Level Cafe/Bento Sushi, Common Grounds and the International Cafe. We waited in line at various spots between 12:10 and 1:10 p.m. Times only include how long it took to reach the till, and do not take into consideration wait times afterwards for hot food or specialty drinks.

The longest wait times recorded were 11.5 minutes for both Starbucks and Tim Hortons. The average wait times were 4.5 minutes for Starbucks and seven minutes for Tim Hortons.

While Tim Hortons and Starbucks often saw lineups during lunch, the other establishments, including The Upper Level Cafe, Common Grounds and the International Cafe were almost always ready to serve whoever walked by. The longest wait time recorded of the three was 1.5 minutes at The Upper Level Cafe.

Glenn Read, director of ancillary services, said that wait times are an issue at the more popular establishments.

Read believes that the campus is on its way to resolving congestion and that it has improved over time, also noting that food services have had record sales this semester.

“I’ve actually had some positive feedback from both students and faculty where they said that they have noticed an improvement,” Read said.

Both Tim Hortons and Starbucks have taken steps to improve wait times, including bringing in each company’s district managers to review their practices. The managers then wrote reports with recommendations on how to improve food service, according to Read.

Ancillary services also takes feedback from staff and students into consideration. According to Read, the increased hours for Tim Hortons came from community feedback.

While long-term solutions are still unknown, Read said that it is possible that Tim Hortons could be expanded. However, that is only an idea at this point, and would also depend on acquiring more space.

According to some students on campus, the wait times could use improvement. However, they are divided on whether the wait times usually acceptable.

“I don’t care about them,” said Moeka Mizutani, an ESL student, when asked about the wait times on campus. “If I have a class and I find a line, I [leave] the line.”

Brody McLaughlin, a first year science student, thinks that at most times the lines for food service are acceptable. “Typically it’s not too bad,” McLaughlin said, while waiting in a Tim Hortons line. He also added that the line plays a part in whether or not he gets something before class.

Hailey Laycraft didn’t like the Starbucks lines. “I think they’re pretty bad. Sometimes I go to the Starbucks off-campus because I think it takes less time to get into my car and drive,” Laycraft said.

When asked what a possible solution could be, most agreed that there should be more outlets.

“The general consensus from what I’ve been hearing around is just more options,” McLaughlin said.

Laycraft suggested that there should be multiple outlets for popular establishments.

“I think it would be helpful if [food options] could expand or make another Starbucks somewhere,” Laycraft said.

Food service Average wait (mins) Max. wait (mins) Times visited
Tim Hortons 7 11.5 8
Starbucks 4.5 11.5 9
The Upper Level Cafe/Bento Sushi 0.5 1.5 7
Common Grounds 0 0 9
International Cafe 0 0.5 5

One Response

  1. Chris Nov. 29, 2016