Technology innovation is nothing new at Starbucks. The ubiquitous coffee house has a long history of tackling big ideas and forward-thinking solutions across both the digital and non-digital landscape. It has been said that the chain, which now operates over 30,000 locations worldwide, keeping more than 100 million customers sufficiently well-caffeinated on a weekly basis, is as much a tech company as a coffee company.
Over the past decade, Starbucks has taken the lead on pioneering a host of technology-enabled initiatives. To name just a few: As early as 2008, the company was experimenting with a crowdsourcing community website to collect customer ideas and feedback. In 2010, it was named the most popular social media brand.
In 2011, following a successful two-year pilot, Starbucks launched a nationwide mobile payment app and the nation’s largest mobile payment program. Later that year, it launched the Starbucks Card eGift feature, which was the first program of its kind.
Starbucks was also among the first national chains to offer free, unlimited Wi-Fi in all its locations. In 2014, it announced a plan to install 100,000 wireless chargers in more than 7,500 of its stores. In 2015, it launched Mobile Order & Pay nationally in the U.S., building customer loyalty through order-ahead functionality. And the list goes on.
Now the list is about to grow with a new series of first-of-its-kind restaurant innovations.