UX Analysis for Tim Hortons Android App

Fast food app and kiosk machines emerge among fast food restaurants in recent years. Automation in fast food service industry is growing, but are they making the restaurant more accessible to its customers? Let’s find out today as I analyze the pros and cons of the Tim Hortons app.

A General Overview of Its Review on Android Play store: it acquires 50 thousand downloads and 511 reviews, which leads to a score of 2.6 stars. It has gotten 265 negative ratings and 164 positive ratings. Most of the customer disputes derive from app glitches, lack of customizable options and employee training for the app.

Restaurant Brands International develops the app with a goal of making Tim Hortons and the rest of its fast-food franchise more accessible to the general public . As automated customer service becomes a trend, the app will pave the way for future technological development. In UX perspective, an app will help the company understand its customer habit and offers promotions accordingly.


I conducted 2 user journeys to gain a better understanding of the app.
After downloading the app, my first user journey is to redeem a free coffee, which requires a deposit of $10 in my account.

Pros The first user journey was quick and effortless. No errors occurred in the order nor the transactions. I am glad that I discovered options I never knew of the Original Blend Coffee. Customization of food on the app is helpful for customers to learn more about Tim Hortons’ products, especially to people who aren’t familiar with Tim Hortons menu.

Cons of the first user journey include:

  1. Lack of customizable options on some orders.

EXAMPLE: lack of vegetarian sandwich options, no white hot chocolate

2. Missing nutritional info and inaccurate count of calories


  • Grilled Steak & Cheese Panini — Nutrition info in the app does not match the information on the website. The app doesn’t reveal the amount of trans fat the product contains, which is 0.5g. Inaccurate information occurs over the saturated fat, which is supposed to be 8g, not 0.5g. There is no indication of the unit in the nutrition info. Allergens and dietary consideration are also missing when this information is crucial for vegans, vegetarians, and people with allergies. Instead of showing all the essential nutrition information on the app, Tim Hortons enforces an extra step for the users to get the information they need on the company’s website. Lastly, the calory information doesn’t synchronize with the customized options; it doesn’t make sense that the total calories will remain 530g if a person chooses to have three sauces in his/her sandwich.
  • Cold Cut Trio Sandwich — shows no nutrition info except for total calories.
  • Chicken Salad Sandwich — nutrition info doesn’t match the information shown on the website.
  • All of the wraps, sandwiches, baked goods, soup and sides are missing the trans fat. Most of the value shown for the saturated fat is the trans fat indicated on the website. There is a major error in the nutrition info.

3. $10 dollars fee to redeem a free coffee

With prior knowledge that the storefronts I usually visit, ones on University of Waterloo campus, do not participate in mobile orders, I hesitated to pay $10 to win a free coffee. I can be sure that I wouldn’t get the app nor pay the $10 fee if not doing this analysis because the shortest distance to one of the participating restaurants requires at least 11 mins of a walk outside of campus. Why don’t I go to the Tim Hortons locates within 5 minutes of walking distance? Time is money. The incentive of getting and using the app isn’t really high for me.

4. Unable to remove credit card information

Credit card information is not removable on the app — an aspect I don’t particularly like. They should give users an option to remove credit card information after depositing the money. With so many cyber breaches happening in recent years, I do not want to risk my money.

5. No Pricing information

With a budget in mind, I don’t like to see the price of the items only at checkout. When using McDonald’s kiosk machine, I usually made the purchase decision based on my preference and the price of food. Having the price presented prevents me from going back and forth switching my selections. If the app is meant to save time, not having the price well indicated isn’t time-efficient for the customer.

6. Improvement on Location information

I think I need to know the services the nearby stores provide right from the get-go or at least having that information more accessible to its users. I have no idea whether the closest Tim Hortons near me accept my order or not until the checkout screen.

* * *

My Second User Journey is to get steak & cheese panini and a free coffee. I decide to pick up my order at the same pick-up location as my first user journey. However, I encountered trouble this time…

Confusion occured

Before getting to the store, I had been wondering how it charges me nothing for my order. When I got to the store, I told the cashier that I’m missing a Steak & Cheese Panini and the app didn’t charge me anything for it. He told me that they don’t offer sandwiches in their store. I wish the app told me so well in advance. Luckily, I later discovered my mistake.

This is what happened…

I made this purchase outdoor under bright sunlight, where I didn’t see that Steak & Cheese Panini is not available at my chosen location. It was my bad. However, I think there should be a stronger visual distinction between the unavailable item and the checkout item.
When I squint my eyes, the two boxes look attached. That is a poor design because it does not speak the intention of the information presented by the texts, which is asking me to find a substitute. It is lacking a design element to tell the users that something went wrong and the item was not being checked out.

Pros is the free coffee and great customization of my coffee.

Cons happens to be some of the things repeated in the previous user journey.

  1. Nearby location and the services the store provide

This can help prevent me from running over to the same mistake again. Better, if I know the services the nearby locations provide ahead of time, I will have less chance of going back and forth to fix my order.

2. Visual distinction to indicate errors

3. Absence of pricing info


Is it true that Tim Hortons employees aren’t well trained for the app…?

I visited the Tim Hortons next to University of Waterloo bookstore one day and I purposefully asked the cashier if she knew whether the app works for the stores on campus. She was honest that she does not know and I will need to double check.

This is a similar type of reaction I got from the cashier working at 151 Columbia Street — they both failed to provide the obvious solutions, such as contacting the app development. I suggest a better communication with the storefront staffs because they are the ones interacting with customers on a daily basis. They know the best about customer needs and they are a useful reference to improve the user experience of the app.

How often do I use the app

I usually visit Tim Hortons 3–4 times a week. I find that the turn-around time for orders is often fast. The nearest participating location that accepts mobile offers requires at least 11 minutes of walking distance outside of the University of Waterloo. It doesn’t make sense for me to go out of my way to get food when it takes me less than 5 minutes to get orders from the Tim Hortons on campus. Using the app isn’t more convenient nor efficient for me. Unfortunately, I do not see the necessity of using the app except to discover the items and customizable options I have not known of.

Thank you for reading my article!