If you’re like millions of American consumers, you’re visiting your favorite Starbucks each morning — right along with plenty of other devoted Starbucks coffee lovers. And while you’re there, you may be ordering a breakfast food item. Starbucks is actively trying to promote their foods right along with their coffee. But we all know there’s usually a crowd, and you’re usually waiting to pick up your order. FoodFacts.com thinks plenty of people would be happy to avoid all that, wouldn’t they?
Starbucks has already put the latest technology to work in their stores with two very popular mobile apps that allow you to pay via your smartphone. And now they’re preparing to incorporate mobile ordering into those same apps.
Yesterday, Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz confirmed plans to allow customers to place orders through Starbucks’s mobile app and pick them up later. “I can tell you that we understand the value that that will create for our customer base,” Schultz said. He added, “You can assume that over time we will lead in this area.”
Pre-ordering would make sense for Starbucks as the coffee giant increasingly focuses on food, which is its fastest-growing segment. ”Everything we’ve seen so far encourages us that we’re just beginning to go after what is a big, big food opportunity,” CFO Troy Alstead said yesterday. Food is more complicated to prepare than coffee and can slow down service in Starbucks stores. “We’re definitely looking to increase the speed of our lines,” spokeswoman Linda Mills told Quartz today.
Some restaurant chains, like Chipotle, already allow mobile pre-ordering. Starbucks’s big advantage in this area would be that so many customers—over 10 million—already use its mobile app to pay for their orders.
But there are plenty of complications to consider. Will the company prioritize pre-orders, or in-store orders? The company wants to make buying coffee and food as easy and fast as possible, but not if it comes at the expense of sales. Which is probably why Starbucks is being so deliberate about the program’s careful development.
When Starbucks has all the complications ironed out, you’ll be able to use their app to avoid their lines. Order before you go, pick it up and pay. It will help save time (and any annoyance associated with waiting) and help you get to your favorite coffee a lot more easily than you may be used to.