Thursday, August 16, 2018

Will Bitcoin’s Bet on Restaurants be the Bite or Buzz Needed to Drive Customer Counts

By now most regular readers of this blog know that chain restaurants perennial innovation leader Starbucks may soon allow / enable consumers to pay for their latte with bitcoin. Starbucks has become a food and beverage innovation powerhouse and technology focused company that drives customer engagement with relevance blending interactive technology with participatory food and beverage offerings according to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®.
Starbucks is extending the coffee customization and personalization experience too technology and the payment process by integrating bitcoin into the list of payment options.  Recently Starbucks announced that it will work in partnership with bitcoin exchange operator Intercontinental Exchange Inc. as it forms a new company to “create an integrated platform that enables consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets on a seamless global network.”
The new company entity will be, called Bakkt, it will employ Microsoft cloud-based solutions to fashion a “global ecosystem” for digital currency, according to the Starbucks press release. “As the flagship retailer, Starbucks will play a pivotal role in developing practical, trusted and regulated applications for consumers to convert their digital assets into U.S. dollars for use at Starbucks,” said Maria Smith, vice president of partnerships and payments for Starbucks,
Smith continued “As a leader in Mobile Pay to our more than 15 million Starbucks Rewards members, Starbucks is committed to innovation for expanding payment options for our customers.” Further operational details about Bakkt will be announced in coming weeks, according to Starbucks, with a planned launch of the company slated for November. So will it drive customer counts? Not today according to Johnson but it will added incremental buzz to the Starbucks brand and down the road it just might.  Starbucks is looking a customer ahead, are you?
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