My suspicion is that the guys who specialize in outdoor displays are already all over this, but if not, they’ll be very interested in news that Starbucks is adding daylight-readable displays to some 2,400 drive-thru lanes in the United States.
The screens will do promotion, as well as order confirmation and a show a live video stream of the barista inside who is handling the order.
Starbucks had previously tested the displays in its hometown, part of a push to use technology to improve efficiency and service.
“It’s about that customer-barista connection,” said Haley Drage, a spokeswoman for the company.
The move underscores the technological arms race being waged by restaurant chains, which are using apps, touch screens and loyalty programs to keep customers happy. Starbucks, considered a leader in technology, recently rolled out mobile ordering to the U.S. and Canada in a bid to boost sales with faster and more convenient service. Mobile-phone payments currently make up about 20 percent of Starbucks’ U.S. transactions, and the company has roughly 10.4 million active rewards members domestically.
The drive-thru isn’t as crucial to Starbucks as it is to fast-food chains like McDonald’s Corp., which get about two-thirds of sales that way. But the coffee giant wants to give drivers something closer to the in-store experience, which Chief Executive OfficerHoward Schultz has said is a reason for the company’s growth. Revenue has increased by more than 10 percent in each of the past three reported fiscal years.
“Our brand is defined quintessentially by the experience in our stores,” Schultz said at an investor conference earlier this year. “And our stores come to life by our people.”
Photo from Retail Touchpoints
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.