Saturday, April 29, 2017

Starbucks Tantalize Tales of Technology Success

I don’t believe that anyone who reads this blog on a regular basics thinks running a chain of restaurants today is easy.  Simply executing operational excellence by serving hot food hot and cold food cold at times is more work than many of us ever signed up for.

Restaurants and all retailers today must not only do the operational basics well they have to figure out how to integrate technology into an existing system so as to edify the system and elevate the customer experience simultaneously.

With incremental success comes the unintended consequence of that success.  In the case of Starbucks the fact is technology mobile ordering has created incremental congestion in the stores. (OK, so you wish you had that problem) Now Starbucks is developing new strategies to help combat congestion at stores caused by its mobile order-ahead service.

The company, which met expectations for its quarterly earnings report this week, provided an update about the issues around Mobile Order & Pay (MOP), a program that lets customers order with their smartphone via Starbucks’ app and skip the line.

The problem, as Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz detailed on the company’s earnings call in January, is that the increasing number of MOP orders creates congestion inside stores for mobile order-ahead customers trying to pick up their coffee and food at hand-off stations. This not only affects customers who are picking up items, but also potential customers who may notice the in-store traffic and end up not purchasing anything.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, stated “Starbucks is implementing “three waves” of improvements to reduce in-store congestion caused by MOP. The first, which he said is largely completed, includes additional training and reallocation of employee roles, as well additional labor at peak hours in select stores. Johnson said this has resulted in higher customer service feedback and increased peak transactions.

The second wave, Johnson said, is related to a new “Digital Order Manager,” or DOM, a tablet-based device that gives baristas at the company’s busiest stores visibility on all incoming MOP orders, as well as those coming from drive-thru and the cafe. “It enables better tracking and real-time order production management,” Johnson noted.

Finally, the third wave is about how Starbucks is designing new stores and renovating existing ones with a focus on store layout that provides ways to increase throughput. Starbucks is driving customer relevance with technology.  Technology can drive customer adoption and incremental customer relevance.  Do you have to many customers?

Interested in learning how Foodservice Solutions 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization? Email us at: or visit: for more information.

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