Starbucks plans 'order ahead' mobile service


Starbucks is planning to launch a smartphone service that lets consumers order coffee before they get to a store, via its mobile app.

In an interview with Bloomberg published late Wednesday, Adam Brotman, chief digital officer at the Seattle-based company, said customers will be able to select coffee or food while in line or before coming into a cafe, potentially speeding up service and saving time.

“It’s something our customers have asked for,” he said. “We’re not revealing a lot of details about it now.”

Brotman also noted that Starbucks will refresh its iPhone app on March 19 to add barista tipping and a shake-to-pay option.

Over 11% of the chain's US in-store transactions are now conducted through a mobile device, and Brotman expects that figure to double in another year.

Last month, Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz handed over day-to-day operations to Troy Alstead, chief operating officer, so he can focus on “next-generation” retail, digital and mobile payments, the company’s loyalty program and electronic commerce.

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