Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) has partnered with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and is opening a pick-up café in New York City in its latest plan to update its footprint to consumers’ new habits.
Hit by a US labor crunch, Starbucks and other companies are expanding labor-saving technology like AI, robotics, and digital touch screens. Less than two years ago, Starbucks also announced its plans to revamp its US footprint when the pandemic suddenly shifted how consumers buy and drink their coffee.
The coffee giant will use Amazon’s cashier-less technology to attract busy consumers that want to buy coffee or snacks quickly. This Amazon Go technology means that customers won’t have to check out with a cashier to pay. Instead, scales, cameras, and shelf sensors tally up customers’ totals and charge them when they leave the store.
Starbucks and Amazon plan to open only three stores like this over the next year with one being in midtown Manhattan and the other still being undecided.
Baristas will make drinks and the rest of the chain’s menu at the new location in New York City and will have the same staffing level as any other Starbucks.
Whether consumers will feel comfortable with the Amazon Go concept remains to be seen, as some may deem it intrusive with Amazon surveilling their purchases. Senior vice president of global growth and development, Kathryn Young, said she is not worried that the format will turn people off.
“It’s a proof of concept that we’re both learning from” – Young.
Starbucks has shut as many as 400 stores in the past 18 months, and its latest strategy includes opening more pick-up locations in dense urban markets and installing walk-up windows and double drive-thru lanes in suburban areas.
The first Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go location opens on Thursday.
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