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Starbucks is testing an ordering service that lets you avoid baristas entirely

Starbucks is testing an ordering service that lets you avoid baristas entirely


Order and pay with your phone before you get there

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I like baristas and efficiency, so the often daily exercise of buying coffee can either be a blissful example of commerce, caffeination, and human interaction, or feel like a trip to the DMV. Starbucks, which is often somewhere in the middle of those two, has now done something seemingly unremarkable to solve the DMV feeling by letting you both order and pay for your coffee with its iPhone app before you enter the store. That's not an unusual thing in the world mobile food apps (see Chipotle), but Starbucks serves up a rather staggering 47 million transactions every week, and before this it only handled the payments part.

Never deal with a human again

Under the new system, Wired notes that people who are in one of the markets where this is launching will see an ordering option pop up inside the Starbucks app. From there, they'll get an estimate for when the item will be ready, and they can just walk in and pick it up from the counter. The system is only in Portland, Oregon so far, but Starbucks plans to bring it to other cities throughout 2015.

The feature, which is limited to iOS for now, dovetails with plans to deliver coffee and food to members of its loyalty program. Starbucks announced that service at the end of October, with the intent of rolling it out sometime next year. That's as opposed to drawing people into its stores, where the company has a chance to upsell customers with food and discounts on items if they come back a second time later in the day.