Starbucks Delivery Could Soon Be Brewing at a Store Near You

published Dec 17, 2018
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(Image credit: Sorbis)

It’s becoming clear that humans now more than ever prefer speediness over ambience, at least when it comes to everyday tasks such as running errands or getting breakfast. As Amazon, Shopify, and other online retailers bulldoze the competition in sheer volume of sales, traditional shops have found that they too are profiting more from sales made through the internet.

One of the more surprising additions to that list is now Starbucks, who is rolling out a new way to get your morning java, sans a chat with your local barista.

Business Insider reports that starting in 2019, Starbucks will offer delivery in about a quarter of its U.S. locations (about 2,000). The service, which already was tested in Miami over the summer, is made possible by a partnership with Uber Eats. If you’re wondering who wouldn’t prefer to simply go inside one of Starbucks’ nearly 8,000 seemingly ubiquitous locations, the answer is, well… most people.

According to Starbucks (via Business Insider) in 2016, “61% of the chain’s U.S. net sales were ordered through baristas at cafés, while 34% were drive-thru orders and 5% were mobile orders,” yet, only two years later, “in fiscal 2018, just 51% of sales were from the café. Drive-thru orders accounted for 37% of sales, while mobile orders accounted for 12%.”

What this data indicates is that “nontraditional orders,” that is, orders not made person to person, are set to grow in the coming months. Over 80% of the 895 new Starbucks locations opened in 2018 in the United States were drive-thrus, and “mobile order and pay” represented 14% of U.S. company-operated transactions, according to Starbucks’ annual fiscal report, released this November. Drive-thru sales growth sped past traditional growth by 4%. People really don’t want to get out of their cars for their coffee, it appears.

Starbucks is at a unique tipping point in their business model, which up to this point served as a place to meet for community. Traffic dropped by 1% in the U.S. in the most recent quarter, which may be due to recent controversies, brand exhaustion, or lack of convenience. It appears that Starbucks is focusing on this issue with their latest venture, but only time will tell if the coffee giant’s latest gamble pays off.