Did Starbucks turn its POS outage into a win?
An unspecified number of Starbucks stores were unable to process payments yesterday due to problems caused by a software update to the chain’s point of sale system. The issue prevented stores from accepting cash payments as well as credit and debit cards. Stores, according to reports, handed out free coffee to customers for their trouble.
Starbucks quickly put to rest any concerns that the outage was connected to the worldwide “WannaCry” ransomware attack that primarily affected businesses, utilities and government institutions in Europe and Asia last weekend.
“Overnight we worked to install a technology update to our store registers in the U.S. and Canada, and a limited number of locations were temporarily offline,” wrote Madeleine Lowenborg-Frick, a Starbucks spokesperson, in an email to the Chicago Tribune. “The stores remained open during this time, and we can now confirm virtually all are once again fully operational, with the remaining few stores scheduled to come back online shortly.”
The decision by stores to hand out free drinks was a no-brainer, according to the Starbucks spokesperson.
“At Starbucks we always strive to create the best moment in every customer’s day. Providing our customers with free beverages aligns with our mission and values,” said Ms. Lowenborg-Frick.
- Starbucks payment outage a rude awakening for some Chicago customers – Chicago Tribune
- Starbucks payment systems after company updates software – The Seattle Times
- Starbucks sees payment system outage in US and Canada – CNBC
- Ransomware attack: Who’s been hit – CNN
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How common is it for retailers to have problems after updating systems software? What can retailers do to minimize the risk of outages such as that experience by Starbucks? Did Starbucks go far enough in addressing customers inconvenienced by its outage?