Starbucks Might Introduce Pre-Orders Via App, But Will It Cut Your Wait In Line?

For all the times you’ve stomped into a Starbucks with a caffeine-craving dragon inside you that that needs to be slain before you can be expected to be a human being and found yourself instead thwarted by an impossibly long and frustrating line of customers in front of you, well, salvation might be on its way. Or maybe not. Dragons!

According to a report from MarketWatch, Starbucks is maybe, possibly and perhaps mulling the idea of tweaking its app (which lets you pay for orders on your smartphone) so customers could pre-order their drinks and pay for them before ever entering a store to pick them up.

During a media conference call this week, CEO Howard Schultz told reporters: “You can assume that over time we will lead in this area.”

And while a spokeswoman confirmed that express orders are something the company is working on, there’s no details about exactly how it will work as of yet.

But the big question on your mind is probably — “Will it save me any time in that damnable line to eternity?”

Eh, maybe not, a professor of engineering systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tells MarketWatch. “There’s a risk of [orders] not being ready or cold.”

Which means maybe you won’t have to speak your order out loud to the barista but you’re still going to have to wait until someone actually makes it for your, or risk a cold latte. Unless a cold latte is what you wanted and then, congratulations!

Others in the food industry have had little success in speeding up lines with pre-order apps, notes MarketWatch, citing Seamless — an app that allows you to order food from restaurants in your neighborhood, also known as “I only have to put on pants to pay the delivery guy” service as an example:

In 2013, the average wait time for all restaurants was around 23 minutes, according to a 2013 report of 8,500 restaurant managers by Long Range Systems, or LRS, which supplies software to the hospitality industry. And over the last year, 54% said wait times actually increased, 15% said they stayed the same, while only 31% said they fell.

To answer the question we posed for ourselves — will that Starbucks line ever whittle itself down? Don’t get your hopes up. You’ll just have to learn to tame that caffeine dragon inside of you.

Previously: Starbucks Admits That Its iPhone Mobile Payment App stores Unencrypted Personal Info

Will pre-ordering shorten wait at Starbucks? [MarketWatch]

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