Will Starbucks delivery ruin coffee culture?

Starbucks
Photo: James Maskell, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Delivering a pumpkin spice latte to your doorstep may become as common as ordering a pizza in the near future. Starbucks announced it will begin delivering coffee and food in 2015. CEO Howard Schultz shared the plan during the company’s quarterly earnings conference, stating delivery service will launch first to loyalty program members through a new app. The new app will allow members to order and pay for their food and coffee without going to a Starbucks location.

The move is among a series of plans to bring the coffee chain into the digital age. In July this year, Starbucks announced mobile ordering via their smart phone app, allowing patrons to pre-order their drinks.

The launch date for the delivery service has not been announced, nor has there been any talk to expand the service outside of the United States.

With dwindled human interaction via the ordering app, and no real reason to stay in its stores, is the new profitable and speedy technology the right move?

Starbucks has largely been responsible for the establishing the European-style coffee culture throughout the United States. Patrons can linger in the stores, enjoying free wi-fi and mellow soundtrack, while utilizing its various locations as makeshift offices or meeting spots.

The new mobile initiatives are targeted toward a faster crowd that cares less about atmosphere and more about convenience. In the world of food, honing prep and speed time can drastically increase volume and profits. This is the model most popular fast food restaurants work under. With chains such as Panera Bread also utilizing  mobile app ordering for pick-up, the cafes are becoming less relaxed and more fast-paced.

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