Starbucks customers who order black coffee wait in the same line as those who order labour-intensive lattes and Frappuccinos.
Some black coffee enthusiasts view this as an injustice. If their order is much simpler, why must they wait?
An express line would also free up baristas for complicated orders.
We asked Adam Pressman, a principal in A.T. Kearney’s retail practice, why Starbucks doesn’t implement this policy.
He provided a few reasons why black coffee customers will keep waiting in line with everyone else.
1. Two lines would be confusing to customers. “There is always the challenge of customers trying to figure out if they got in the ‘right’ line,” Pressman told us.
2. One line is actually more productive. “By having a single line and adding in options for engagement and additional information, retailers can help make the wait times seem less, while still meeting customer needs when they do get to the register,” Pressman said.
3. Customers make impulse buys as they wait. “Impulse buys are impacted by a lot of things, and today’s connected customer likely has more distractions (e.g., on a call, reading email, texting, etc.) that pulls some attention away from locations that have traditionally held impulse buys,” Pressman said.
But things aren’t too hopeless for black coffee drinkers.
Starbucks baristas often get them their coffee more quickly anyway by fulfilling the order immediately at the cash register.
Meanwhile, those who ordered cappuccinos and lattes wait for their drinks on the other end of the bar.
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