Starbucks is constantly pleasing caffeine lovers with new festive, fall flavors, sweet treats, and special offers. Now, the Seattle-based chain is attempting to do the impossible with curbside pickup.
According to Refinery 29, Starbucks will be offering lattes curbside at the Snoqualmie Ridge Location in Snoqualmie, W.A.
As if using the Starbucks mobile app wasn’t user-friendly enough – allowing customers to order, pay in advance, and pick up their drinks without standing in line – Starbucks customers will now be able to place their order on the app, drive up to the test store location, and receive their beverage via a carside-barista from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Considering the test location is currently operating without a drive-thru window, curbside delivery could be a game changer.
According to a Snoqualmie Starbucks employee, the stakes seem to be low at the moment, with just five people using the service the day it was launched. The employee claimed that the service has been “really slow, with usually no more than one person at a time.”
Customers using the curbside service are required to pull into the designated area for curbside pickups in order to ensure baristas’ safety.
“Someone with a headset will come to your car, greet you, ask you your name, and then relay that information to a barista inside, who will bring out your order,” the worker continued.
Nomura analyst Mark Kalinwoski told Business Insider that this test location is taking the mobile order and pay “to the next level.”
“We’ll be curious to see how this one-store test fares and if other non-drive-thru Starbucks stores test out curbside pickup,” Kalinwoski said.
Eater reports four percent of sales across all Starbucks stores in the U.S. are attributed to the brand’s mobile order and pay feature.
“But that’s just the beginning of the story,” Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman told Eater. “Over 10 percent of all orders at our busiest stores are made through Mobile Order and Pay. Drilling into that further, for those 300 busiest stores, mobile ordering approaches 20 percent during peak hours.”
In January, the chain claimed to process more than 6 million Mobile Order and Pay transactions per month.
When the local Living Snoqualmie website caught news of the new service, however, commenters voiced their concerns with the launch, writing, “I can imagine what this will do to traffic flow. Can you imagine even five cars lining up at Starbucks?”
Another adding, “I think this is a stupid idea…It’s already a very busy lot and I have to dodge cars and kids (so many kids!) on my way back and forth. There just isn’t enough room in the driveway in front of Starbucks to have additional cars parked, waiting for drinks.”
Some commenters appeared to be concerned about the happiness of their baristas as well, writing, “That mentality makes any barista’s job a nightmare. It’s not difficult to say your order every day.”
In fact, in January Starbucks’ employee Máximo Cortéz told Eater that the mobile order and pay system is causing baristas to become overworked, claiming there are no more than three employees working a shift at a time.
“Just last weekend, we had someone place an order for 12 drinks through the app,” Cortez told Eater. “And we already had a long line of people in the store. If we had more people on staff, that would have been much easier.”
The Snoqualmie location will be offering curbside service for six weeks.
Curbside pickup is also offered by retailers like Kroger, Walmart, and Harris Teeter, which allows customers to place orders online and have an employee load their cars once they arrive.
[Featured Image by Chris Hondros/Getty Images]