Industry News | April 28, 2017 | By Alex Dixon | QSR Exclusive Brief

Starbucks' Plan to Fix its Ultra-Popular Mobile Business

Too many people ordering online can actually pose a problem. Starbucks
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Starbucks has a problem many brands would hope for, as its mobile order and pay platform has become so popular it’s challenging the traditional store structure.

About 1,800 Starbucks locations are experiencing 20 percent or more of peak transactions from mobile pay, and the company is taking steps to more efficiently handle the increased demand and to increase throughput.

READ MORE: Is Teavana holding Starbucks back?

In a conference call for Starbucks’ Q2 2017 results, new president and CEO Kevin Johnson said the brand has reallocated employee roles and tested additional labor during mobile order and pay peak, while focusing on new tools and processes to support beverage and food production.

Starbucks has also introduced a new digital order manager, a tablet-based device that provides baristas with incoming order visibility and enables better tracking and order production management. The digital order manager also enables to notification to customer’s app when the order is ready. Starbucks will be deploying the technology to its highest volume stores this quarter.

“As we deploy this high value, low cost technology across our store portfolio, we will create an extremely valuable source of new data insight around operations and customer experience,” Johnson says. “Data that will enable us to further optimize store operations, increase throughput, and elevate our customer experience.”

Finally, Johnson says the brand is integrating a mobile order-friendly store layout and design into its existing store development and renovation approach.

“The retail industry is going through a period of disruption right before our eyes. We believe in the two transformative elements that will continue to propel Starbucks into the future, and we are allocating resources thoughtfully,” Johnson says. “First, we continue to see a rapid and significant return on investment by accelerating features of our digital flywheel … Second, we are investing against our long-term strategy to elevate the Starbucks brand through the design, construction, and introduction of five additional iconic ultra-premium roasteries.”