I’m sitting here at Starbucks waiting for the garage across the parking lot to finish off some maintenance on my car.  There’s a large queue forming at the counter, clearly the bottleneck is the ordering system.

So how does this Starbucks handle it? The person who prepares the coffee takes and starts the order and for the second person in line to increase throughput.  By the time that person pays the cashier, their order is ready and out they go.  Quick and efficient.

Seems like common sense doesn’t it?  I wonder if the manager gets upset that they are breaking process?

On the flip side, when I go to Tim Hortons, it’s usually the cashier that takes the order and fills it so the next customer has to wait until the order is done.  Sounds like single-piece flow to me.  Makes sense for limiting WIP, might not be the right balance for getting customers through faster.

Of course it could just be my heightened senses as a result of the double Grande Americano I just chugged.