Starbucks tests digital menu boards

The move aims to boost sluggish p.m. sales by promoting select items.

Starbucks is testing digital menus in some stores that can be tweaked throughout the day to promote specific menu items.

The move is intended to bolster select dayparts, specifically the afternoon, which has seen sluggish sales at the chain recently.

“Digital menu boards are one of several in-store efforts we are introducing as part of enhanced storytelling with our stores,” a Starbucks spokeswoman said Friday. “These are an example of the work underway as we focus on our operational priorities.”

The spokeswoman declined to say how many units currently have digital menu boards or reveal any plans for their future implementation, saying the company is gathering feedback on them from employees and customers.

A Starbucks in Chicago’s Loop has a six-panel digital menu, which showed images of tomato-basil soup and a grilled cheese sandwich one recent afternoon, Bloomberg reported.

Dunkin’ Donuts, Chili’s and Starbucks have all recently announced plans to beef up afternoon sales. Starbucks is focusing on its mobile app to draw time-pressed p.m. consumers seeking food and drink on the go.

“Just like we figured out and cracked the code in the morning daypart, we will do the same thing in the afternoon,” Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz said during a conference call with analysts earlier this year.  

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content

Emerging Brands

5 pre-emerging restaurant brands ready for takeoff

These small concepts are still proving out their ideas, but each shows promise as a potential candidate for the next generation of emerging chains.


This little-known iPhone feature could change restaurant ordering

Tech Check: Almost every customer has a POS in their pocket. Can mini mobile apps get them to actually use it?


Red Lobster gives private equity another black eye

The Bottom Line: The role a giant sale-leaseback had in the bankruptcy filing of the seafood chain has drawn more criticism of the investment firms' financial engineering. The criticism is well-earned.


More from our partners