What-if software helps work the kinks out of doing business

For Starbucks devotees, a scene that played recently on a computer screen at the Solana Beach office of Automation Associates could be considered a horror flick.

Feb 11, 2006 - 09:38
The software company's Restaurant Modeling Studio is running a digital simulation of customers ordering at a virtual Starbucks, with many trying out the coffee chain's new warm sandwich and pastry products.

At first, things seem to go well as animated workers rush around, preparing customers' orders. But they can't keep up.

Soon the customers are stacking up in line, and the goal of serving each customer in under three minutes is blown entirely. The line quickly reaches the "balking" point - quick-service restaurant lingo for the threshold at which a customer decides the line isn't worth the wait and leaves.

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Source - San Diego Union-Tribune