From day one, Starbucks has defined itself as more than just a place to buy coffee. Howard Schultz, company President and CEO, epitomized this when he said “We’re in the business of human connection and humanity, creating communities in a third place between home and work.” This Third Place was conceived to make customers comfortable and foster social interaction.
The problem: Today, the experience most customers have at Starbucks is waiting in an irritatingly long line. And we can’t just blame it on a bad barista. In 2010, amid customer complaints that
Starbucks had become an assembly line, the company passed a policy forbidding baristas from making more than two drinks at a time. It’s no wonder the lines are out the doors!
My solution: Break up the lines. Bring back the leisure. And do so using the Starbucks app, which is already quite robust. Users can pay, collect rewards, send eGifts, create and share their favorite drinks, and much more. But there’s something missing — an ordering function. Adding this to the app would allow customers to actually enjoy the comfortable environment Starbucks has worked so hard to create instead of waiting in line. Here’s how it would work. I arrive at Starbucks on a weekday morning before work. So do about 20 other people. Instead of lining up, we all take a seat, place our orders and pay right through the app. Those without smartphones (or the app) can submit their order and pay at one of the several iPads stationed throughout the store. The baristas receive the orders on a flat screen behind the counter. While my drink is being made I can read, work, relax, whatever. Once it’s ready, I receive a notification on my phone. I can then grab my drink from the counter and scootch off to work, long line — and headache — averted.
My role: Strategy, UX, Interactive Prototype