In the restaurant race to tech innovation, Starbucks bolstered its board to 13 members Thursday, including the appointment of Domino’s chief executive Ritch Allison.
Starbucks said Allison, who has led the pizza chain since July 2018, taking over for J. Patrick Doyle, would serve on the company’s compensation and management development committee.
In addition to Allison, Starbucks added Andrew Campion, the EVP and CFO of Nike, and Isabel Ge Mahe, Apple’s VP and managing director of Greater China.
“As we pursue our goal of building an enduring company, I couldn’t be more excited to have Ritch, Andy and Isabel join our world-class board of directors,” said Kevin Johnson, Starbucks president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “Their expertise across global technology, retail and customer experience at scale will accelerate our drive to innovate in a way that’s relevant to our customers and inspiring to our partners.”
The trio officially joined September 11. The rest of Starbucks’ board includes Myron E. Ullman III, Mellody Hobson, Roz Brewer, Mary Dillon, Johnson, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, Satya Nadella, Joshua Cooper Ramo, Clara Shih, and Javier Teruel.
Campion will serve on Starbucks’ audit and compliant committee. He’s worked at Nike since 2007, holding his current title for the past four years.
Mahe, who joins Starbucks’ nominating and corporate governance committee, arrived at Apple in 2008, overseeing its development of cellular, WiFi, Bluetooth, Neat Field Communication, and motion technologies. She also played a key role in developing new China-specific features for iPhone and iPad. Currently, Mahe provides leadership and coordination across Apple’s China-based team.
Allison started with Domino’s in 2011 as EVP of international before holding the international president position from 2014–2018.
He brings no shortage of digital experience to Starbucks during a time when the brand continues to ratchet up innovation. As of Q3’s end, announced in July, Starbucks had delivery live in more than 2,700 locations across 11 markets via Uber Eats. It’s expected to roll out nationwide by early 2020.
Starbucks, which posted its best quarterly report in two years with U.S. same-store sales growth of 7 percent in Q3, anchored by 3 percent traffic, and 6 percent globally, accelerated its 90-day active rewards members base 14 percent, year-over-year, to 17.2 million members. Loyalty guests accounted for 42 percent of U.S. tender in the period.
In recent quarters, Starbucks has also pushed to convert digitally registered customers to rewards. This included revamping its platform in April to a tiered structure that lures sign-ups through faster perks. New members can now earn stars within two to three visits. In the past, it was 30–40 trips.
Starbucks also announced recently, ahead of its Chicago leadership conference, it was working on a pick-up store to debut in New York City. The Manhattan store is still in development. Johnson told Bloomberg, however, Starbucks expects to introduce similar off-premises-focused units in large cities, like Boston, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
The model would mirror, in some respects, the chain’s Starbucks Now location in Beijing, which opened in July. That “express retail experience,” integrates Starbucks’ physical and digital customer touchpoints by leverage mobile order and pay technology. Customers enter the store and are greeted by a barista at a concierge counter. Guests choose from a menu handcrafted for on-the-go orders. There’s also a dedicated area for delivery riders. Additionally, the location serves as a centralized dispatch center for delivery orders within a certain radius. This allows Starbucks employees at nearby locations to focus on customer service and not on fulfilling to-go or delivery tickets. A process similar to what Chick-fil-A and other chains are doing in clustered markets.
While Domino’s has railed against the idea of third-party delivery, Allison led multiple innovations across the space during his tenure, including GPS tracking, e-bikes, self-driving cars, and voice ordering.
Mahe’s addition could help Starbucks with its fast-growing China business as well. The company’s same-store sales hiked 6 percent in China this past quarter, with transactions up 2 percent. Starbucks opened 442 net new stores in Q3, yielding 30,626 stores at the end of the quarter, a 7 percent increase over the prior year. But nearly one-third of net new store openings were in China and 48 percent were in other international markets.