Photo: By jonas maaloe on Flickr
Line speed matters at Starbucks.It needs to keep getting faster and more efficient, but CEO Howard Schultz has some serious concerns about the cost of serving people ultra-fast.
Starbucks “knows it is losing customers” because of the length of its lines, notes Annie Gasparro at the Wall Street Journal.
“The challenge for us is that we want to improve our speed, but we don’t want to become a fast-food chain,” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told the WSJ.
The Starbucks brand is what has made it a coffee juggernaut. It’s the experience in the store that customers crave and keeps them coming back.
At this point in the company’s evolution, drastic changes to the in-store experience would be risky. Anything that may encourage people perceive Starbucks as “fast food” quality would ravage the brand.
But that doesn’t mean he’s not going to do everything he can to streamline things. After all, Starbucks created an entire vocabulary for its customers so that the line would be more efficient.
Starbucks always takes into account the impact on line speed when it makes a move. Take the Square deal for example. Starbucks invested $25 million in the mobile payments company, but it’s thinking hard about the customer experience.
Rocky Agrawal at VentureBeat explains:
“… don’t expect to see Square dongles at Starbucks locations. They’re just too inefficient and flimsy for the kind of volume that Starbucks does. Line speed is among the top 5 things Starbucks cares about, if not the top thing. Having the Square reader at each register would slow down the lines too much.”
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