Student project aims to cut down coffee lines at peak times

With thousands of people set to visit Brock’s main campus this summer for the Canada Games, one class has ideas brewing to help visitors get their coffee quickly.

Working in partnership with Brock’s Dining Services, a fourth-year Operations class in the University’s Goodman School of Business used computer software to analyze data and pinpoint where bottlenecks were occurring during peak times while people waited in line for their coffee at Tim Hortons and Starbucks on campus.

Braden Day, Dining Services Co-ordinator, Compliance and Brands, said the experiential learning project was helping the team better prepare for a variety of possibilities when it came to providing speedy food and beverage service.

“The students’ research helps tremendously to reduce wait times and improve the customer experience,” he said. “With their simulations, we essentially get to test creative ideas on the computer first, before taking the risk of implementing in the restaurant. Once we know the winning combination, we can implement it and see an instant improvement that takes the guesswork out the equation.”

A man in a white shirt sits in front of a white background.

Third-year Bachelor of Business Administration student Domenic Iacopino took part in an experiential education project to pinpoint where bottlenecks were occurring while people waited in line for their coffee.

Among the student researchers was Domenic Iacopino, who said working with real-world clients in Dining Services encouraged his group to expand their ideas.

“It was important for us to think outside of the box,” he said. “One of our group members came up with a wild idea to implement self-serve kiosks that accept Brock Card payments, but in the end, we combined that suggestion with some rescheduling recommendations as our final proposal.”

Day said the study was particularly important with demand surges expected during the Canada Games this summer.

“Students were able to simulate the temporary surge demand we expect from the Canada Games and provide us with recommendations on measures and ideal staffing levels and positioning to effectively meet this demand,” he said. “The partnership with Goodman students was extremely beneficial and the learnings will assist us with our planning going forward.”

While Day is busy anticipating the extra pressure that will come with the Games, Iacopino used the partnership to fuel a new level of motivation during the term.

“There is a different level of pressure when there is a real client and that client is your University,” he said. “We knew we needed to offer viable suggestions that would need to hold up.”

As he prepares to pursue a career in operations management, Iacopino is thankful for the many hands-on learning experiences he has had in his Brock courses.

“Applying my knowledge outside of the classroom and learning to work in a group will be very helpful in my career,” he said, “and there’s so much value in helping the community — everyone benefits.”

To learn more about experiential learning projects at Brock, visit the Experiential Education website.

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