Starbucks is updating its iPhone app (Android to come) to give cardholders easier access to their account information as well as adding digital tipping and "shake to pay" features. While all this is very nice, the most interesting mobile news coming from the chain involves an app test that the company is not discussing publicly in great detail.
According to a Bloomberg News report, the coffee chain is "actively working" on a mobile app that will allow customers to place their orders before getting to the store or while waiting on the line inside a Starbucks.
"It's something our customers have asked for," Adam Brotman, chief digital officer, told Bloomberg. "We’re not revealing a lot of details about it now." He did reveal, however, that CEO Howard Schultz was directly involved in the project.
Starbucks is not alone in pursuing mobile ordering. Chipotle, McDonald's, Subway and Taco Bell either have mobile ordering apps in place or are testing them. The biggest question is how restaurants and stores will deal with an influx of orders during busy periods. "It's still so early on," Linda Mills, a Starbucks spokesperson, told Bloomberg Businessweek. "There are a lot of operational considerations that have to be factored in."
How common will mobile ordering apps become in foodservice operations in the next five years?