Starbucks iPhone Ordering Tested: The Future Is Now

On Thursday, Starbucks updated its iOS app to include mobile ordering if you live in Portland, Oregon, where this system is in beta. Luckily I live in Portland, so I tried it out this morning. Here's how it works:

Within the app, you start with the 'Order' screen. You have the option of watching a short video if you like, which illustrates the process of mobile ordering. You have to accept the terms of use, and then it's on to the menu where you choose your items.

Starbucks mobile ordering screenStarbucks mobile ordering screen.

I chose coffee, and the grande was the default size, which is just silly. Luckily you are given the option of customizing your beverage, from size to additional flavoring or anything else. You can add food, or other items if you want to.

Customizing a Starbucks orderCustomizing a Starbucks order. Grande. Aren't you cute?

Then you get the option of which location you want to order from. Perhaps you want the one closest to where you are now, but you may want to pick it up at another shop instead, so you get the option. Then confirm your order, which is paid with your Starbucks card, and then you are given the time your order will take as well as how far you are from that location.

Starbucks order confirmation screen.Starbucks order confirmation screen.

It's seriously like living in the future. There were quite a few people in line, but you don't have to wait in line! I told the barista I had a mobile order, and she said, "Oh! Right! Here's your sandwich, and your coffee will be at the end of the bar." So I went to where you usually pick up your coffee and told that barista I had a mobile order and my name. In the time it took the person at the register to order, I was in, secured my breakfast, and got out the door. As I left I heard one person say "What's a mobile order?"

I did ask if you can use the mobile order and then drive-thru, and the barista confirmed it would work there too, you just tell them at the speaker your name and that you have a mobile order. Overall it's a wonderful experience. In an interview with the Oregonian, Starbucks Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman said that Portland will be the only location for several months, to work out the kinks of the beta. There are plans to roll out Android ordering and additional locations next year.