Testing is in progress at Starbucks Corp. to determine the best way to deliver a hot coffee to a customer’s door or desk. The Seattle-based company, which is conducting dual delivery experiments in New York and Northwest markets, has learned people will pay more to skip the lines at the coffee shop.
“Delivery has been something that people have asked for from us for many, many years, and we didn’t think we could get it right ourselves,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and chief executive officer, during a May 27 presentation at the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York. “We didn’t know how to do it. How do you keep it hot? But the demand for delivery has become ferocious. And as a result of that, we started trying to find how we could do it.”
Starbucks learned a third-party delivery service called Postmates had been couriering its coffee to customers in various cities without the company’s involvement.
“So we got involved with Postmates and did a number of tests with them, and we figured out a way through our own technology and theirs that we could co-author a new foundational way to deliver Starbucks coffee in real time,” Schultz said. “And we also figured out that elasticity of charging for it is something people will pay for.
“So we’ll launch Starbucks with Postmates in the Northwest, and then, secondarily, we’re building a remote mini-commissary in the Empire State Building where we will deliver Starbucks coffee ourselves and on a parallel basis will test both Postmates and our own delivery.”