Canadian Starbucks Are Next For Mobile Order & Pay

Starbucks’ mobile order and pay pilot program was so successful in the Northwest that it was quickly rolled out to the rest of the country. Now, Starbucks is taking its digital experience north.

In a Tuesday (Oct. 6) press release, Starbucks Canada announced that about 300 company-owned coffee shops around the Greater Toronto Area would start offering mobile order and pay services on Oct. 13. Jessica Mills, director of brand communications at Starbucks Canada, explained in the press release that Toronto is a unique environment to test mobile order and pay in the Great White North.

“Toronto is the largest city in Canada and also home to some of Starbucks’ busiest North American stores,” Mills said. “We know that sometimes, customers have to choose between going to Starbucks and making their next meeting or appointment. The simple, convenience of Mobile Order & Pay means customers can bypass the line. It represents a significant opportunity for us to enhance the customer experience and significantly save customers some time.”

In an interview with the Financial Post, Adam Brotman, Starbucks’ chief digital officer, explained customers using mobile order and pay usually have to wait between three and five minutes before their drinks or food are ready. Because it removes a fraction of customers who would otherwise be waiting in line, Brotman said that mobile order and pay benefits all Starbucks customers instead of only those who want to use the new service.

Starbucks expansion of its mobile payment options into Canada may also prompt Tim Hortons, a Canadian favorite, to revisit its stance on mobile, the Financial Post reported. The chain, which is Canada’s most popular coffee seller, currently has no mobile payments plan in place and the only way to pay without cash or a card is through the company’s loyalty app.

If Tim Hortons feels the pressure to change due to Starbucks’ announcement, the competition could heat up significantly in the bitter cold of this Canadian winter.

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The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.