To keep up with the pace of busy customers, Starbucks rolled out a pared-down, no-frills prototype on Wall Street in late April. The 538-square-foot express-store pilot promises to be “one of the most streamlined experiences in the company’s portfolio,” Starbucks said in a statement announcing the opening. Targeting the on-the-go customer, the seatless space was designed to be as open as possible. “The [counter] is low and kitchen framed wide, like a show kitchen, so our partners are able to interact with customers from every point in the space,” said senior architectural designer John Park. Next up, Starbucks plans to open four more express stores in New York City by the end of the year.
To speed throughput, a greeter takes orders via a handheld device before customers arrive at the register. The order is digitally relayed to baristas, who start prepping drinks before time of payment.
Taking orders earlier in the process caters to regulars who know their go-to drink. The express store displays a digital menu board of locally tailored offerings, but on the wall instead of over the counter.
While cash, credit and mobile payment are accepted at the register, Starbucks has integrated its Mobile Order & Pay service, letting customers order and pay remotely by smartphone to speed up the process.
Without much room to wait around, the goal is to get customers in and out fast. The one bottleneck: the straw and creamer station. While staffers work quickly, customers at this DIY area move at their own pace.