Long lines at Starbucks have been standard for over 20 years, but all that may be about to change with the latest offering by the coffee giant. According to a press release from the Seattle-based coffee chain, an advanced ordering service, which was previously limited to iPhone users only, is now open to all mobile phone users.
Starbucks is known for its innovative ordering systems. It was one of the first companies to offer app-based payments. Mobile phone users can load money into the Starbucks app and swipe a barcode at the restaurant to earn points. These points can then be used to purchase coffee and other items at a discount.
Last year, Starbucks starting offering iPhone users the option to order coffee and food items directly from their mobile application. However, the advanced ordering system was not available to other phone users. In September 2015, Starbucks opened the system to all users — just in time to order your Pumpkin Spice Latte!
To date, few companies allow advanced mobile-phone ordering. In reality, it does not differ greatly from ordering online, an option that many large chains already offer. Starbucks Corp. tested the Mobile Order & Pay model in Portland, Oregon in the fall of 2014. It then expanded its reach to over 3,400 stores. Since September, all stores now offer mobile app-based ordering.
In an interview with CNBC, Starbucks Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman explained how the new mobile ordering system works. The basics are outlined below:
The Starbucks app has an option to order in the upper right-hand corner of the main page. From there, you can browse available products and choose which Starbucks store will complete the order. After ordering, the app provides an estimated pickup time.
At present, there is no option to schedule a coffee order in advance, but it may be an available option in the future. The app also allows you to search wait times at various Starbucks locations in the area. Brotman suggests placing orders about five minutes in advance during regular business hours and up to 10 minutes in advance during peak times, such as early in the morning before work.
Starbucks has not revealed how many existing customers have used the mobile app so far. The company may be waiting to see how well the entire country responds to the new system before releasing any data. Since many Starbucks customers are young and well educated, it is likely that a significant portion will use the mobile app to order online.
Starbucks employees will likely encounter a few hiccups in the coming weeks as they work out how to schedule mobile orders combined with in-store orders. To be safe, you may want to wait a few weeks before trying the mobile ordering system.
Brenda is a writer, chef and health nut with many years of writing experience in the alternative health industry. She specializes in health news, healthy living, alternative treatments, and healthy recipes. She loves educating others about sustainable, healthy living. Brenda lives in Texas with her husband and two daughters.