Starbucks To Add 12,000 Cafes; Use Artificial Intelligence In Ordering App

Image courtesy of (Ko Fujimura)

If you were worried you wouldn’t be able to score your customary morning cup of coffee from Starbucks whilst traipsing around the world, worry not: The coffee giant unveiled plans to add 12,000 more stores globally by 2021.

Starbucks announced the global expansion efforts this morning as part of the five-year plan presented at the company’s investor conference

The expansion plan aims to nearly double the number of stores to 37,000 cafes over the next five years.

A majority of those new stores — about 5,000 — will be located in China, which already operates 2,500 cafes. The company says that it currently opens about one store a day in the country, adding that stores in China will one day eclipse those in the U.S.

Not all of the new locations will be regular old Starbucks cafes, the company said. Instead, it plans to open at least one of its new upscale Reserve Roastery stores in Shanghai next year.

Starbucks opened its first Reserve coffee and roasting room in Seattle in 2014, a place that CEO Howard Schultz has described as a “magical coffee ride,” where you can buy roasted limited-supply Reserve coffees that sell for up to $50 per eight-ounce bag.

In other plans to drive business, the company says it will focus more on its food offerings, introducing Sous Vide Egg Bites in January 2017, a Certified Gluten-Free Breakfast Sandwich in the spring; and additional Bistro boxes to add to its lunch lineup.

Additionally, the company says that it will soon unveil a new ordering system, dubbed My Starbucks Barista, that adds artificial intelligence to the company’s mobile order and pay app.

With the app customers will be able to place their orders via voice command or messages.

The My Starbucks Barista feature will roll out first on iOS in limited beta in early 2017 and be made available to more iOS and Android users later in the year.

“We are today executing against an ambitious, carefully-curated, multi-year strategy to further elevate the entire Starbucks brand and customer experience around the world, and further extending Starbucks leadership around all things coffee, retail and mobile,” current Starbucks President and COO Kevin Johnson, who will take over as CEO for Howard Schultz in April 2017, said in a statement.