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Starbucks is opening a pick-up-only store to make PSL season a breeze

Starbucks is opening a pick-up-only store to make PSL season a breeze
[Photo: Asael Peña/Unsplash]

What’s your favorite pick-up line? Mine is the one where you preorder your Pumpkin Spice Latte through the Starbucks app and then still have to wait in line to pick it up at the store. Now, Starbucks is doing something about that extremely first-world problem—and making a store that is perfect for misanthropes.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said the coffee chain is developing a pick-up-only location in Manhattan to better serve customers who are ordering their White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino Blended Coffee on their phones and don’t want to wade through a pack of plebes ordering IRL.

The New York store, which is still in development, was inspired by the chain’s success with its Starbucks Now concept in China, where customers order in advance on mobile phones and pick up their half-caf, extra hot, grande coconut milk lattes in “express” shops without the wait and without having to talk to strangers. The cafés could also serve as delivery hubs for that aspect of the Starbucks business model. Starbucks is currently available for delivery via Uber Eats in 11 markets, with more rolling out throughout the rest of the year and into next year. If the U.S. market likes the concept, Johnson said Starbucks could roll out pick-up only locations in other urban (read: impatient) cities including Boston, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

If you’re the type who likes to hang out in a Starbucks and spell your name four times for the barista, don’t worry: Starbucks isn’t doing away with its existing cafés quite yet. This new concept is akin to how Amazon is reportedly developing delivery hubs for packing up and shipping out Whole Foods groceries or perhaps a better model, China’s Luckin Coffee, a very popular coffee chain that is primarily pick-up and delivery, which  may have given Starbucks the idea in the first place.

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