Starbucks rolls out new app, lines still long


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Photo by Michelle Klejmont |

Starbucks is known for its lattes and coffee, but also its long lines that take patience to wait through. A new feature on their signature app aims to change that by streamlining the ordering process through mobile ordering.

Being able to order and pay for food before even getting to the restaurant would likely save time and potentially even cut down on how long a line in the store could be, said Parth Patel, a School of Arts and Sciences junior.

“Waiting in line (at the Livingston Starbucks) always takes a while,” he said. “Especially when it gets crowded after class, because everyone likes going there at once. Other restaurants are also crowded during lunchtime or after schools let out.”

Though Starbucks has had an app for a while now, users could not pay for items through it, according to a press release on their website. A new feature, called Mobile Order & Pay, was released on Sept. 22, streamlining the process of ordering a drink.

This feature has been in testing since December in Portland, Oregon, according to the press release. In March, it entered a wider testing program, being used across more than 3,000 stores.

The app, which is available on iOS and Android, is now accepted at the nearly 7,500 stores across the country.

Mobile Order & Pay allows users to find a store, pick a menu option and pay ahead of time. The app will let the user know how long it will take to create the item.

Knowing what menu options are available before going to a store could also help shorten lines, said Aakash Patel, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.

“I know a lot of people are indecisive about what they want, even though everyone is getting pumpkin spice lattes now,” he said. “This could help those guys who don’t know what they want figure it out before they even get there.”

Nicholas Emanuel, director of Operations at Rutgers Dining Services, said the franchise’s app can only be used in stores owned by the company.

Rutgers Dining Services owns the store on Livingston, and it does not use the app at this time.

It is possible for licensed stores to use the app in the future, including the store on campus, he said in an email. He met with representatives from the company on Thursday, but has no definite time-frame for when this might happen.

At present, the on-campus Starbucks uses an app named Tapingo, along with many other restaurants in the area, he said.

This app allows users to order a meal, pay for their food and pick it up upon arrival, he said. It also compares waiting times between different locations.

“It is definitely more convenient than standing in line if you time it right,” he said. “You don't want to order food, have it paid for and pick it up late.”

Users would have to be careful to time their arrival to coincide with when the item is finished, he said. Due to health concerns, food items cannot wait at room temperature for very long.

If a customer arrives after enough time has elapsed, the drink has to be remade, he said.

“If this happens we will need to make it again and you may need to wait while we are serving other customers,” Emanuel said.

According to a United States Department of Agriculture website, the number of bacteria on an item can double in 20 minutes.

This applies to any foods left between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Foods not intended for immediate consumption should be refrigerated within an hour or two.

Rutgers Dining Services managers are certified “ServSafe,” or to safely handle food, Emanuel said. This integrates well with Tapingo’s services.

“I would use (the Starbucks) app,” Aakash said. “It seems like it’s so much faster than everyone just waiting right now.”

He said his only concern would be for the security of a credit card connected to the app. Having sensitive information online opens it to the possibility of theft.

Many major companies, like Sony, have trouble protecting their users’ data, he said. He wants to know more about how Starbucks avoids that.

Paying for drinks in advance and just picking them up might not solve Starbucks stores’ crowds, Parth said. Many people go to the restaurant to meet up with friends and socialize.

Starbucks has a friendly atmosphere for that, he said.

“Honestly I just go to Starbucks to hang out with friends,” Parth Patel said. “The drinks are a bonus.”


Nikhilesh De

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