The great donut showdown

As you may have heard, maple donut and coffee powerhouse Tim Hortons is being slowly rolled out in the United States by its corporate parent, Wendy's. And the chain will conquer all challengers. Like most Canadians, you will sit thirty cars deep in a drive-thru line-up at 7:46 in the morning to pick up a refreshing iced capuccino. (Hey! Even newly-released sex killers crave them!)

How can I be so certain? It's all in the way U.S. retail chains are implementing their new research into customer behaviour:

    "The [new Path Tracker ...] system revealed that morning commuters came to the front of the store where the bakery was located to buy coffee and a donut. By placing the bakery farther back and relocating the snacks along the aisle leading to the bakery sales of candy bars and chips have increased dramatically ... " (Infoworld)

That's right, boys. If they're coming into the store for a quick fill-me-up baked good, the first step to fulfilling customer needs should be to drive the customer farther into the store.

That may work within the footprint of the grocery store - but what if there's a Tim Hortons/Wendy's out on the standalone pad in the parking lot? Not only will the grocery lose the incremental sales, it'll be sitting knee deep in recently defrosted centrally manufactured parboiled baked goods.

Side note: wondering why Tim Horton's is missing the apostrophe? French language laws in Quebec.

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