When Chase Paymentech Solutions LLC won a bid in April 2007 to implement plans by Canadian restaurant Tim Hortons to launch a contactless-payment system, the Dallas-based merchant processor knew it was in for a sprint.

The franchise restaurant chain wanted all card readers and equipment installed and the project operational by October. Not an easy task when one considers that, as Canada's largest quick-service restaurant chain, Tim Hortons has more than 2,700 outlets throughout Canada (and another 350 in the U.S. that were not part of the contactless project).

Tim Hortons, best known for its coffee, donuts and sandwiches, wanted to go contactless to enhance security and to increase transaction speed at checkout and at its drive-through lanes.

"It was a speedy job, both in implementation and negotiating, for when they wanted it up and working," says Paul Browne, Chase Paymentech senior vice president of operations. "And a deal like this takes lots of discussion."

Chase Paymentech completed the necessary groundwork and equipment installation in late October, meeting the chain's time frame. The diligent work has earned Chase Paymentech the Card&Payments 2008 Best in Payments Best Technological Implementation award.

The processor also scored high marks with the restaurant. "We got it done very, very quickly, which was pretty remarkable," says Rachel Douglas, a Tim Horton's spokesperson. "It was an aggressive implementation strategy, and Chase definitely delivered."

Chase Paymentech divided the project into two phases. First it had to get franchisees on board. Then it needed to install the equipment and get the project operational.

In the spring of 2007, after discussions with Tim Hortons and MasterCard Worldwide, also a participant in the project, the merchant processor began enrolling franchisees. The company sent marketing and enrollment kits to 2,200 of the restaurants (the other 500 are part of malls and other operations). Included in the kits were documents the franchisees had to sign to register their participation. Chase Paymentech also provided a checklist for what needed to be done, information on the readers and cards, a newsletter to keep franchisees up to date, and notification of deadlines for stages of the project.

Chase Paymentech gave the franchisees three weeks to fill out the necessary paperwork. "They were very receptive," says Browne, and 92% completed the paperwork on time. The others came in shortly thereafter.

Installation of VeriFone VX570 terminals and SC 5000 PIN pads and VivoPay contactless readers began at the end of June. Chase contracted with Maxwell Technology of Belleville, Ont., to install the approximately 6,000 pieces of equipment.

More than 300 individuals, "a small army," according to Browne, participated. Most were installers, but others were set-up workers, project managers, equipment technicians, and legal, sales, and marketing personnel.

Installation hours were restricted because Tim Hortons does brisk business around breakfast and lunch. The goal was to outfit about 150 restaurants per week over the three-month installation period.

The job was made easier because the restaurant chain is detail-oriented, and its staff members "really understood what they wanted," says Browne.

"We're starting to see a lot of buzz around this product," says Browne. "It could have been challenging, but we overcame all the potential problems. And we were able to meet all the demands of this aggressive project."  CP

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