It won’t come as a surprise to those of you who know me that I am terrible in the morning — however, for those of you who don’t, it’s worth stating this upfront, so you can gather the context this idea came to me better. I am definitely terrible in the morning, whether it’s because of my tendency to stay up late or because my biological clock is still set for Europe. Or maybe because I am not a morning person — which is I guess a nice way of saying I’m lazy in the morning
That means that typically in the morning I’m not in a chatty mood, I’m in a rush and pretty much expect that any service that I decide to employ to be rather fast too. And invariably every morning I need my coffee — so I find myself invariably in a Starbucks queue waiting to order my coffee and get the hell out of there as soon as I can so I can drink it and (attempt to) wake up. And this is where the problem starts!
I know the guys in Starbucks are trying their best to be friendly and warm to the customers and they provide a lot of chit-chat while they take your order, as well as before and after, but to me, at that point in the day, that is only adding delays to the whole thing, since all I want is the same order, every morning, given to me asap. Of course, being in a queue, means that you have to bear with everyone who starts asking questions about how big is a grande, where is the sugar and the cream, how much is left on their Starbucks card or simply stand there and dig in what looks like a humongous hand bag for a tiny tiny tiny purse to pay for their drink All of these not only delay me like I said, but also irritate the hell out of me — and that’s how this idea came to me:
I am a Starbucks regular you can argue: I have a Starbucks card, this gets refilled automatically when it gets under a certain balance, I have an app on my mobile and I also tend to order the same thing. So Starbucks has my details — from the website, where I had to fill in a profile, register my card and so on. They have my credit card details too — as they use this to auto-top-up my card. They also have all my order history — since I order mainly with the Starbucks card. As such, I would imagine they figured out by now what my standard order is — but even if they haven’t, I’m happy to give that information away, by setting it up in my online profile on their site!
With that in mind, all I want, is a terminal in their shops, away from the mad queues you normally encounter in the morning where I can just go and swipe my card — then go and pick up my coffee when it’s ready from the counter. This way I don’t have to wait for mommies managing their babies in the queue, I don’t have to wait for the old lady who realises after she orders that she left her purse in the car and has to go and get it, I don’t have to answer about 3 questions from the barrista about how my weekend was before I can place the order — one simple swipe gives Starbucks all the information they need to start getting my coffee ready, right? They can take the money off my card, they will know that card is associated with me and my regular drink is XYZ of this size, they add the points on my account, they log all the data about.me for their offline analysis or whatever else they do with their data — they basically get exactly the same out of me as before, but I get my coffee much quicker (since ultimately I’ll be jumping the queue by using such a separate terminal!) and as such I’m happier.
I had a look at the Order Ahead app — which I know some of you will throw at me — but trust me, using that thing is complicated! First of all you have to select your location — granted, if you’re on a mobile device that can be obtained by the app automatically. Then you get a choice of all the outlets around who implement Order Ahead. Then you get their menu and select your item — and by god, coffees are normally end of the menu Then for coffees you have to tick all the boxes that apply: cup size, type of milk, do you want it hot, iced etc then finally proceed with the checkout — sorry but that takes way too much of my time and I definitely favour just walking into a Starbucks for that and ordering my coffee and put up with all the annoyances I described before
Whereas in the case of having this terminal, all is needed from me is a swipe of the card: they have my location (since the terminal is inside a specific Starbucks), they have my details, my regular drink and everything else they need! All I need to do is swipe my Starbucks card — the order is placed in the system and someone picks it up and start making it, and at the end of it I just hear the usual “Grande Mocha for Liv”, I pick up my drink and head off!
Of course, if I don’t have enough money on my card, I have to join the normal queue. If I haven’t defined a favourite or regular drink, I go back in the queue. If I haven’t got my Starbucks card, I go back in the queue. But if I have all of the above, I’ve unblocked one of the cashiers — and allow them to serve more customers — and also gained myself a bit of time, yet still getting my coffee!
Please Starbucks, can you make my mornings easier?