Starbucks Gets Its #FirstWorldProblem: Mobile Orders Causing Their Own Line Ups

Starbucks solved a problem with line ups at stores by launching Mobile Order and Pay via their iOS and Android apps. But now, it appears this feature–which launched nationwide last year in Canada–has resulted in yet another problem: mobile order line ups.

The coffee chain’s CEO, Howard Schultz, said on a conference call yesterday “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,” according to Reuters.

In the U.S., Starbucks said 1,200 of its stores saw a 20 percent jump in mobile pay and ordering during peak hours; last year, mobile order and pay surges affected only half the number of stores.

Kevin Johnson, Starbucks’ president and upcoming CEO, said the spike in mobile orders caused incoming customers to leave stores, once they saw huge numbers of people crowded around pick up counters, affecting sales (via CNBC).

Spokeswoman Linda Mills told the publication earlier this week, the company began to add 1-2 more baristas dedicated to mobile orders at its busiest locations during peak times.

Starbucks said they are also reevaluating work routines, plus internally testing notifications to let customers know when their drinks are ready. The company is also has plans for Reserve stores and bars, while also redesigning and modelling older stores to relieve mobile order pressure.

As the word continues to get out Starbucks has Mobile Order and Pay, we’ve similarly experienced longer line ups at pick up counters, as we’re seeing more mobile orders all the time.

Sometimes, we end up going to Starbucks to avoid lines at Tim Hortons, which, along with Burger King, will be launching their own mobile app this year, to join with McDonald’s as well.

Do you have any mobile order war stories to share? They’re definitely a case of #firstworldproblems.