Starbucks Express Speeds up Caffeine Fix

May 31, 2002

One can order a caffeine fix even faster at a dozen Starbucks in the Seattle area. The service allows a patron to order and pay by cell-phone for a 25-cent service charge, reports the Seattle Times.

Starbucks Express customers are finding the orders are delivered so consistently in three to four minutes that they have it down to the exact stoplight when to call, company spokeswoman Megan Behrbaum says. “The plan was to only keep it in stores until January, but the feedback was so positive, we decided to keep it in indefinitely,” she says adding that as part of the test, more stores could be added this year.

Bellevue-based Ontain supplies the technology including the Internet site, billing and wireless ordering system that supports the service. Users create a personal prepaid account online at, where they must agree to release Starbucks and Ontain of any legal responsibility involving driving incidents. Then the customer personalizes menu options. The system automatically identifies the caller placing an order by telephone and asks for the preferred selection. Passwords are not required.

In other Starbucks news, Merrill Lynch raised its rating on the company according to Reuters. Sales at stores open at least 13 months rose 10 percent in the four weeks ended May 26, its first double-digit increase since November 2000. The company posted net revenues of $260 million for the month, up 27 percent from May 2001.

Moderator Comment: Is the consumer need for convenience strong enough to suggest that programs such as Starbucks Express will become widespread? Does this type of program have practical applications beyond foodservice?

“Tramps like us, baby we were born to run.”

  • Bruce Springsteen

“I want to soak up the sun. Want to tell everyone to
lighten up.”

  • Sheryl Crow

There’s a need for speed. But, folks isn’t this is getting
a bit ridiculous? [George
Anderson – Moderator

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