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A Starbucks Drive Thru.

A Starbucks Drive Thru.

Starbucks Drive Thru

The phrase “Drive Thru” has been around in some form or another for decades. It has evolved with us--from the “quick service restaurant” of the late 1900s, to the quick service at the cash register in the 1980s and now as you walk-in through the front door of a Starbucks anywhere in the country. There are more than 30,000 Starbucks in... Starbucks & Drive Thru Woes I think it's safe to say that everyone hates.

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Let’s go back to 2009. Starbucks knew its drive-thru was below best-practice. It recognized the company had not looked at the drive-thru experience through the lens of the customer. In contrast, Starbucks’ in-store experience relies heavily on having multiple touch points along the customer’s path to purchase. There are promotional banners and window clings at the entry, suggestive-selling messaging prior to the order point. Plus, there’s a seductive pastry case beckoning trial. On top of this, the interior experience includes face-to-face interaction with the barista, music, décor, and aromas. However, at the drive-thru, these customer touch points were virtually nonexistent.

The audit provided the first "aha" moment for Starbucks. Instead of thinking of the drive-thru as nothing more than an order and delivery point, the chain dissected the drive-thru into key customer zones and touch points. Deficits were identified in each zone. It started thinking through many different zone-specific improvement opportunities. For each zone it created a plan. New strategies were developed for the different customer zones. Messages were now cognizant of customer needs, attitudes and behaviors, and were tailored to meet specific, zone-appropriate business objectives. The drive-thru became an opportunity to influence strategic sales growth, improve the customer experience, while replicating some of the customer touch points found inside the store. (Source: www.qsrmagazine.com)

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Recognizing customer zones was a breakthrough moment for Starbucks. Instead of thinking about the drive thru as a whole, Starbucks started thinking about the different and distinct customer zones. Being able to dissect the drive thru into key customer operating zones helped Starbucks think through many different improvement opportunities. New zone-specific strategies were developed for the different customer zones. Messages were now cognizant of customer needs, attitudes, and behaviors, and were tailored to meet specific, zone-appropriate business objectives. (Source:

Another “aha” moment occurred about a year into the testing. There is a saturation point for messaging within individual customer zones. Depending upon the zone and how customers use it, there’s an ideal maximum number of messages the customer can digest. Going beyond that saturation point is a waste of money, and it can frustrate the customer and slow down throughput. Zone-specific guidelines were developed to help Starbucks manage “Total Store Messaging” within the drive thru. This ultimately helped increase customer throughput. (Source: www.qsrmagazine.com)

 

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