Say Goodbye to Long Lines — Starbucks Is Opening a Pick-Up Only Store

As if getting your Starbucks fix wasn’t already easy for the perpetually on-the-go — hello, order ahead feature on the Starbucks app — the CEO of the coffee chain, Kevin Johnson, has somehow made it even easier (and quicker!) for us to grab that Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew and go: pick-up only stores.

Johnson stepped into the role of CEO more than two years go and since, we’ve seen a few new changes, notably the release of Starbucks’ first new pumpkin drink in 16 years, the pumpkin cold brew. But Johnson has a few more ideas that cater to what the people really want: less wait times and better customer service. To achieve the former, Starbucks’ first pick-up cafe — modeled after the Starbucks Now concept in China — will open in New York this fall. If the pick-up store is successful, Starbucks may roll out others in cities like Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The pick-up cafe caters to not only busy coffee drinkers, but also delivery people who work for companies like Uber Eats, Postmates and more. The way it works is simple and familiar: You order in advance on the Starbucks app, then pick up your order at the store.

starbucks now china
Image: Starbucks.

“What we’re using Starbucks Now for, and what will be Starbucks pick-up stores in the U.S., is to blend them in where we have dense urban areas where we have a lot of Starbucks third-place cafes,” Johnson tells Bloomberg. “Think of it as a Starbucks pick-up.”

In addition to the pick-up cafes, Johnson’s wish list also includes shifting the tedious, time-consuming tasks, like shift scheduling and counting inventory, from baristas to automation. This allows baristas to spend more time with customers, Johnson says. “It’s really at the core of driving growth. As we grow, one of the investments we have to make is that investment in labor,” he says.

We’re all for less wait times, convenient pick-up and all-around more attentive customer service for those days when we do have a few minutes to spare to place the order in-store (and by “have a few minutes to spare,” we actually mean we forgot to order ahead and are forced to head inside or hit the drive-through). Make it happen, Johnson!

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