Starbucks is beginning pilot tests of its own delivery service, starting today. The company is debuting its Green Apron Delivery Service in New York’s Empire State Building, where it will be able to trial food and beverage deliveries that reach the more than 12,000 people working in the building, and are promised to arrive within 30 minutes on less. Specifically, the company is focusing on learning how to handle orders based on volume and distance to the drop-off location within the building, the company says.
Once perfected, the Green Apron Delivery Service model could be rolled out to other buildings and even broader areas in dense, urban areas in the future, though Starbucks isn’t yet announcing its plans on that front. However, the company has invested in technology that points to that being the larger goal.
For instance, Green Apron customers are able to place orders of select food and beverages through a dedicated website where they also inform baristas of their drop location, like their reception desk or even just a meeting spot in the building.
The orders are then prepped in a designated kitchen in the building. This kitchen is not open to other customer orders or those from tourists visiting the building, however. It’s only meant to serve as the delivery service’s headquarters. Instead, other customers will be able to order from an express store in the lobby or visit the nearby cafe in the 34th Street lobby, Starbucks says.
The company notes that it chose the Empire State Building to run its first tests of Green Apron because of its “bustling work environment” which features a large number of tenants. There are currently 150 tenants on 75 office floors as Green Apron goes live.
This, of course, is not Starbucks’ only foray into delivery. The company announced earlier this year that it would partner with courier service Postmates to offer delivery to customers, with the initial delivery pilot beginning in Seattle later this year. In this case, customers will be able to order through the Starbucks mobile app in order to use their Starbucks card and accumulate rewards as usual, then dispatch a Postmates driver to pick up their order.
But offering a delivery service is still something of a new experiment for the company. To date, its focus has been on the development of its Mobile Order & Pay platform, now live across the U.S. and in London.
Arguably, that’s the first step to building out a delivery service – a way to process incoming orders through an integrated ordering system in the flagship mobile application. But now Starbucks has to focus on the logistics involved with delivering hot beverages and food – including how to handle order volume, how to keep food hot, how to meet a 30-minute delivery timeframe and more.
Starbucks has said earlier that it’s enthusiastic about offering deliveries, but admitted that it wasn’t as far along in the process as it was with mobile ordering.