Will Mobile Order & Pay eliminate checkout lines at Starbucks?

Discussion
Sep 23, 2015

Sometimes it seems as though waiting to be served at Starbucks takes forever, and that’s not even during rush periods. But waiting may be a thing of the past as Starbucks’ mobile app now enables customers all over the U.S. to place and pay for orders before arriving.

Starbucks’ Mobile Order & Pay, a feature on the company’s mobile app, was initially tested in 150 locations in the Portland, OR market last December. The pilot was then expanded to 3,400 stores in 17 states earlier this summer. Now, the enhanced app will available for customers to use in all of the 7,400 company-owned Starbucks operating in the U.S. The company plans to roll it out in Canada and the U.K. next month.

Back in July, CEO Howard Schultz told analysts (as per SeekingAlpha), "Mobile Order & Pay is fueling both revenue and profit growth in every market in which it has been deployed with customer adoption starting faster and accelerating with each new phase we roll out. By enabling our customers to order ahead and avoid waiting in line, Mobile Order & Pay is enabling us to capture more on-the-go customer occasions."

Adam Brotman, chief digital officer at Starbucks, said Mobile Order & Pay "represents the fastest technology application rollout we have ever done."

Starbucks MOP

Photo: Starbucks

In what ways will the nationwide rollout of Mobile Order & Pay shape Starbucks’ business going forward? What other retailers might benefit from a similar advance ordering and payment feature?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"As a former CMO of a coffee franchise with 130+ locations I can tell you one of the biggest complaints is that a drink is not hot enough. I still don’t see how they get around that with a window of when a drink is ready, but good for them."
"The orders received from the app users are filled by the same staff that was working the store before the app’s rollout. Now some of that staff is handling app orders. Do the non-app customers draw the short cup, as Bob mentioned in his response?"
"Well it would be cool to just sit at a table, order and have the order brought to me. Anything short of that is a failure and compensating in a duct tape way to the fact that the lines there are too long."

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8 Comments on "Will Mobile Order & Pay eliminate checkout lines at Starbucks?"


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Bob Phibbs
Guest
6 years 22 days ago

Paypal featured this idea a couple years ago at NRF. As a former CMO of a coffee franchise with 130+ locations I can tell you one of the biggest complaints is that a drink is not hot enough. I still don’t see how they get around that with a window of when a drink is ready, but good for them.

On another note, are these apps creating a lower class of customer who is not in-the-know-enough to order in advance?

I waited 15 minutes in line at Chipotle recently only to have the guy hold up a finger, “Wait, I have to get this internet order out.” Eight complicated burritos with separate containers for condiments added another 10 minutes to my wait.

While those who order don’t have to wait, for those who don’t find the app, it’s anything but a good thing.

Steve Montgomery
Guest
6 years 22 days ago
The new Starbucks app will hopefully deliver on its promise of overall shorter transaction time for both app and non-app utilizing customers. Based on the article the speed is coming from two areas. One, the customer can now order their drink that requires several adjectives remotely thus saving queuing time waiting to order and the time it takes to say all the adjectives required. The customer can also pay for the drink via the app, saving time recording the sale. However, it does raise a few questions. I am assuming that there will be a designated place for app orders to be held waiting to be picked up. What happens if the order sits too long and begins to cool? How will it work in a drive-thru location? Hey, I placed my order via the app and now I am stuck in line behind those that didn’t. What does this mean for the non-app customer? The orders received from the app users are filled by the same staff that was working the store before the… Read more »
Joel Rubinson
Guest
6 years 22 days ago

Well it would be cool to just sit at a table, order and have the order brought to me. Anything short of that is a failure and compensating in a duct tape way to the fact that the lines there are too long. I’m sure I have personally walked away almost as often as I have bought because of their lines.

Lee Kent
Guest
6 years 22 days ago

I have not used the app lately or been to Starbucks however, to Bob’s point, I hope they have addresses the hot factor as well as not delaying those standing in line.

To me, that is a lose/lose.

For my 2 cents.

Gordon Arnold
Guest
6 years 22 days ago
For the past decade CEOs have learned and practiced streamlining as a means to address the weak economy. The need for customer service and an ability to quickly respond to customer needs is seen as an opportunity to include information technology for solutions. The order and pay application(s) in this discussion are more of a next step for Starbucks than something new. What is being abandoned in the search to streamline is consideration for the traditional business practices that are sill in the practice of the consumer. It is a good thing for companies to accept the wants and needs of our emerging digital consumers but the costs of this business opportunity needs to be measured from a number of perspectives far from the bottom line. The best practice for this and future digital considerations would be to consider handling it away from the traditional sales floor. Something like a drive-thru that is connected to the store without interfering with other sales practices. The future is ours, whether it is good or bad is up… Read more »
Jeff Hall
Guest
6 years 22 days ago

Starbucks has always been at the forefront of innovating and optimizing the customer experience. The Starbucks mobile pay app was one of the first to market and quickly became a hit with its core customer base—early technology adopters.

This new mobile order and pay feature is a natural extension of the Starbucks digital ecosystem and it seems they’ve done substantial testing (first in 150 stores, then in over 3,000 locations). My bet is this will be a success, will ultimately shorten lines and wait times and that the company will be mindful of not creating ordering delays for those customers not using the app.

Kai Clarke
Guest
6 years 22 days ago

This is a great concept that will help, just help, manage customer flow at a particular Starbucks, but it is clearly not the answer to most of the issues. The real issue here is faster customer service. This requires more people helping the customers, which Starbucks simply needs to recognize.

W. Frank Dell II, CMC
Guest
6 years 21 days ago

Starbucks is working on solving their customer’s greatest negative of waiting for their order. By implementing mobile payment they reduced the transaction time. Now they are adding ordering before the customer arrives at the store. There is the issue of having an order ready for pickup which requires counter space while the coffee is cooling. As long as the transaction time is shorter and the product quality is the same this is a winner. Without a doubt every fast food restaurant could use this technology.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"As a former CMO of a coffee franchise with 130+ locations I can tell you one of the biggest complaints is that a drink is not hot enough. I still don’t see how they get around that with a window of when a drink is ready, but good for them."
"The orders received from the app users are filled by the same staff that was working the store before the app’s rollout. Now some of that staff is handling app orders. Do the non-app customers draw the short cup, as Bob mentioned in his response?"
"Well it would be cool to just sit at a table, order and have the order brought to me. Anything short of that is a failure and compensating in a duct tape way to the fact that the lines there are too long."

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