Would Pre-Ordering Your Starbucks Be Convenient Or Just Make People Hate You?

With online ordering at Starbucks you could cut this entire line.  (afagen)

With online ordering at Starbucks you could cut this entire line.

We’re a society largely based on convenience, and quick service is alway welcomed, right? And many of us make a daily trip to Starbucks, without which we’d be unable to function. Starbucks customers tired of waiting in line for their caffeine fix would understandably be excited to hear about Starbucks’ plan to introduce mobile pre-ordering, but is it a holy grail or a Pandora’s box?

Officials with the company say they are “actively working” on a mobile ordering function of the coffee shop’s wildly popular mobile app, Bloomberg reports.

The new service, which would be tested at select stores, allows consumers to select coffee or food while in line or before coming into the cafe, a move that officials say could speed up service and save you precious time.

That sounds all well and good, but we see a few potential issues with this new service.

First of all, for consumers who lack a smartphone or are otherwise smartphone challenged, they’ll likely continue to stand in line during the morning coffee rush. So, what will happen when Mr. High-Tech walks in off the street and goes straight to the pickup counter?

We could see there being a certain degree of annoyance, if not straight-up anger from patrons patiently waiting their turn.

And when you get up to the pick-up counter, after cutting 20 people, who’s to say how long that drink has been sitting there. We don’t know yet if the service will allow patrons to select a time for pick-up, but if they don’t, it’s plausible that your piping hot coffee is more lukewarm by the time you enter the shop.

Now, what if that double shot soy vanilla latte you ordered online is wrong? Yep, they made it caramel, and you can’t stand caramel. Your quick trip to the local Starbucks just got twice as long, and the people behind you that haven’t had their cup of coffee yet are probably ready to bounce on you.

Granted that problem can happen even if you waited in line like everyone else.

And it’s true that the use of mobile ordering might be a way to ensure your drink is accurate. After all, there is less chance the phone will misinterpret your order than the person standing behind the register.

Now, let’s talk about that quick afternoon pick-me-up you need. It’s off-hours and you’re in a hurry, so you’re encouraged to see there’s no one else in the cafe. You cockily think to yourself “this will be a quick in-and-out purchase.” Wrong. Mr. High-Tech was able to order his specialty concoction by phone and his drink is being made before yours. And now you’re left waiting five more minutes.

What if you want to order off the “secret menu“? Will the new mobile ordering menu allow you to do order the super secret Captain Crunch Frappuccino?

The prospect of a new online ordering service does have several pluses. Obviously, convenience, but also for its ability to allow baristas more time with our drinks.

If everyone uses the new service to place orders, then there’s less time a barista is behind the register, which means he or she could be honing their drink making skills. Not only could we get beautiful pictures in our lattes, we could also benefit from a less-burnt batch of blonde roast. Score!

While Starbucks continues to work on online ordering, we’ll continue to wait in line with the rest of the world’s coffee drinkers. But hey, we can still pay with our Starbucks app and then decide an hour and a half later if that drink was truly worth a tip.

Starbucks Plans to Test Mobile Ordering This Year [Bloomberg]