It's a question we've been asking ourselves for what seems like ages: When will Starbucks delivery start? Well, today I have the news we've all been waiting for — because as of right now, it has begun! The coffee chain's Green Apron Delivery service launched today in its pilot location of the Empire State Building in New York. This news probably isn't a huge surprise, since CEO Howard Schultz announced almost exactly a year ago that the company was looking into creating a delivery service; however, just because it's not a surprise doesn't mean that it's not welcome. On the contrary — our dreams are finally becoming a reality!
The catch, of course, is that that pilot delivery location is currently the only delivery location — so if you're not based in or around the Empire State Building, you're out of luck for the present. But if you are in the right place, the good news is that using Green Apron Delivery is incredibly simple: All you have to do is log on to the Green Apron Delivery website using your My Starbucks Rewards account information, decide what you'd like to order, and check out. Then you can expect your Starbucks to come to your doorstep — or in this case, your office door — in less than 30 minutes. The cost of delivery for customers is also pretty reasonable, as there is a flat $2 delivery fee placed on all Green Apron Delivery orders.
Starbucks had some problem solving to do before they were able to launch the service. “We really set out within the last year to figure out how to operationalize a completely new business channel,” Starbucks' director of global innovation and testing Alecia Craft told WIRED. The typical Starbucks setup wasn't ideal for a delivery kitchen, where the focus is entirely on product; so, instead of facing the customer as it does in your standard Starbucks store, the machinery and other kitchen gear faces the middle of the space to roll out orders as quickly and efficiently as possible. The delivery kitchen also has order managers, consolidators, and runners, which Starbucks retail locations don't tend to have.
Starbucks has also designed new bags and containers specifically for delivery, with the orders fitting into large, black bags that can hold up to six drinks in a plexiglass container inside. The runners also carry old-school flip phones that connect only to the kitchen, so that if an order is incorrect, the runner can simply push a button to get in contact with the kitchen staff and get the ball rolling on a fresh order.
The delivery service is just one way Starbucks has started eliminating the line, enabling customers to get their drinks faster and with less fuss. In addition to the nationwide expansion of mobile ordering, there are also now Starbucks Express locations with no seating aimed at getting people in and out quickly and easily. It's thought that delivery service could cut lines even further, meaning you might be waiting less time for your drink when you go into a regular Starbucks location.
We don't know when the delivery service will roll out in other locations yet, so we'll just have to wait and see how the initial pilot location works. Fingers crossed!
Images: Starbucks (4)