The idea to create a separate line for drip coffee customers is one Starbucks has considered. In fact, this concept was tested years ago with favorable results.
I spoke with a store manager who tested a brewed coffee line during his busiest hours of the morning and was able to serve drip coffee customers very quickly. The biggest benefit was that these customers did not have to wait behind those wanting espresso beverages or pastries, which can take a bit of time to process. Customers ordering espresso beverages and pastries were also served more quickly since the drip coffee customers were not in their line.
Another added benefit was for our baristas. Having an extra partner on the sales floor was great. When there were no brewed coffee customers, the barista dedicated to this line could clean or prepare the store for other customer needs.
Unfortunately, the challenge with the drip coffee line is that most of our stores are not designed to make it work. Many customers found the two lines confusing and they didn’t always flow well. Ultimately, the added complexity caused by the two lines was not beneficial enough to make this concept a customer service standard.
The good news is, we continually evaluate the layout of our stores and it’s on our radar to consider designing stores to accommodate two lines. In fact, we are testing a variation of this concept in some of our stores now. The “self service brew station” concept places the coffee brewer near the condiment bar and customers simply serve themselves and pay before or after getting their own drip coffee. It will be interesting to see the feedback and results of this idea as well.
I’m a drip coffee drinker and appreciate getting my beverage quickly on my way to work each day. It’s good to hear from customers who feel the same way. We will forward your comments to the partners who enhance our customer service standards. Thank you for sharing so passionately.