Starbucks Tests All Mobile and Pay Store

by Raymond Pucci 0

All mobile—all the time. That would be Starbucks in their piloting of a café that only takes mobile ahead and pay orders. According to the following article, the Seattle barista is testing a new store design and process at an internal company store that accepts mobile order and pay only.

Starbucks introduced its mobile ordering system in 2015, and it’s been a victim of its own success in some ways. Customers at popular spots are eager to use the mobile ordering system to choose their selection and pay in advance, in the hopes of avoiding a line – but they’re having to wait anyway, thanks to a virtual queue that’s as large or larger than the real one, depending on the spot. Now, it’s looking for ways to make mobile ordering work better, and in pursuit of that goal it’s going to trial a location that exclusively serves mobile order customers, within its own Seattle HQ.

The location will go mobile-only starting next week, Reuters reports, turning one of the Seattle-based company’s two internal cafes into a dedicated mobile order and pay location. All mobile orders from building employees, which include 5,000 people, will be routed to the new location, and it’ll feature a different design, with a prominent pick-up window that also offers a view to baristas preparing the orders, according to the report.

Starbucks added the order ahead and pick-up option to its app across the U.S. in September, 2015, and it’s been a popular feature among users since. The feature allows users to browse the Starbucks menu within the app, select a location, and pay for their order ahead of time, receiving an estimate about when it’ll be ready to pick up. Depending on the location, the order will then be left at a designated pick-up location, or called out by a barista for pick-up like orders made in-store.

Quick service restaurants (QSRs) have discovered a promising new sales channel in mobile order and pay. Coffee shops like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, plus pizza chains Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Papa John’s are all-in on this added revenue stream. It’s no surprise that other QSRs and even casual restaurants are now joining the fast growing trend. On-the-go mobile consumers are loving this time-saving option. An added benefit for Starbucks in this test will be to try different store layouts that can best accommodate converging POS and mobile customers looking to pick up their orders, which has created gridlock at some of their busiest stores. Watch for Starbucks to launch the re-engineered mobile order and pay at some regular stores in the not-too-distant future.

Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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