Starbucks Baristas Can’t Keep Up With Mobile Orders

Starbucks may have been an early adopter when it comes to mobile orders, but the popularity of it is creating long lines as baristas struggle to keep up with all the mobile orders.

According to a report by Reuters, in the most recent quarter, baristas have struggled to keep up with the orders so much so that it’s creating long lines and, in some cases, prompting frustrated customers to walk out. Last week, Starbucks scaled back its full-year revenue target for 2017 and reported a smaller-than-expected increase in sales, which sent the stock down close to 4 percent. “We are now laser-focused on fixing this problem, but the nature of it — too much demand — is an operational challenge we have solved before, and I can assure you we will solve again,” Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said on a conference call, according to Reuters.

Reuters noted that, earlier last week, the coffee chain giant started adding additional baristas focused on mobile orders and payments at the stores that have top volume during peak hours. The company’s executives are also thinking about overhauling work routines at its stores and testing internally texting customers when their orders are ready.

AB Bernstein Analyst Sara Senatore told Reuters Starbucks should be able to address the issues. “It’s a high-quality problem,” said the analyst, noting Starbucks figured out a workaround a few years back when baristas started heating up pastries that Starbucks sold. “There is some incremental labor, but it’s mostly just using it more effectively,” she said.

While some analysts were focused on the mobile order problems at Starbucks, others expressed concern about the overall restaurant market during the quarter. “This was one of the worst retailing months of December that we’ve ever seen,” Will Slabaugh, an analyst at Stephens, said in the report.


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