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Starbucks Preparing for Seamless Orders
Starbucks intends to increase drive-through service throughout the chain. Currently a third of locations feature drive-throughs, and 60 percent of future Starbucks will be built with them. Part of the reason is that the Seattle-based coffee chain seeks to integrate its mobile application with in-car computer and navigation systems in the future, allowing consumers to order from their cars while driving, then picking up at the drive-through.
Excerpt: "The coffee chain is building more drive-thrus with deeper motives than competing with McDonald's or Wendy's, said Brian Sozzi, chief equities analyst at NBG Productions.
'Starbucks intends to lay the groundwork to tap into the next round of technological innovation from inside the automobile (and who knows, maybe prepare for an iCar),' Sozzi said in a note to clients.
About 60 percent of the new stores opening in 2013 will have drive-thrus, the coffee chain said in an earnings call last week. Only one-third of existing Starbucks stores have one.
New technologies could make ordering seamless, according to Sozzi.
'Obviously Microsoft’s Sync in-car technology pioneered, but in many respects it has been surpassed by newer offerings in luxury autos,' he said. 'Over the next few years, these in-car touchscreen control panels are very likely to include capabilities to order food items from local chain establishments that boast drive-thrus.'
Both consumer and business would benefit from the ordering system."