Starbucks Will Add Live Barista Video To 2,400 Drive-Thrus

A friendly interaction with no camera intermediary. (Renee Rendler-Kaplan)

A friendly interaction with no camera intermediary. (Renee Rendler-Kaplan)

When shouting your order into a personality-free loudspeaker at Starbucks, do you ever wish that you could make eye contact with the barista? The chain will be adding video screens to drive-thru lanes after successfully experimenting with the idea in Seattle. The screen will have a selection of menu items in addition to the potentially cheerful face of the person taking your order.

This adds a useful feature that other restaurants with drive-thru, notably McDonald’s and Sonic, have offered for a while: a running tally of the items you’ve ordered and the total as the employee enters them in the system, so the customer can verify the order in real time.

Ultimately, adding a video screen is about making the experience of shouting at an outdoor speaker more personal. “Our brand is defined quintessentially by the experience in our stores,” founder and CEO Howard Schultz told investors earlier this year, emphasizing one thing that may be even more important than coffee. “And our stores come to life by our people.”

Starbucks Is Adding Drive-Thru Video Screens to Improve Service [Bloomberg]

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