Howard Schultz Suggests Starbucks Reinvent Mobile Ordering as the Coffee Giant Faces Slump

Rejuvenating the Starbucks Experience: Insights from Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz at Starbucks Shareholders Meeting

Former longtime Starbucks chief Howard Schultz offered a number of suggestions to help the Seattle company rebound. (GeekWire File Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Ever pondered the secret ingredient behind Starbucks’ global success? It’s not just the coffee, folks. It’s the immersive experience, the cozy ambiance, the feeling of community. But lately, it seems Starbucks has hit a bit of a rough patch. With shares dipping more than 12% following recent earnings, there’s a buzz in the air—and it’s not just caffeine. Enter Howard Schultz, the former CEO who’s had his fair share of coffee chats, with a steaming cup of advice for the company.

On the Brink of Innovation: Schultz’s Strategy Revamp

Despite stepping back from the boardroom, Schultz couldn’t stay away from the coffee aroma for long. Over a weekend LinkedIn brainstorm, he spilled some beans on reviving Starbucks. He’s encouraging a return to the drawing board, especially focusing on mobile ordering’s overhaul. Remember the buzz when Starbucks first launched “Mobile Order & Pay”? Schultz believes it’s time to reignite that excitement, ensuring the tech not only works but enhances the Starbucks experience.

Did you know that a whopping 31% of Starbucks transactions in the U.S. are made through their app? That’s more fingers tapping on phones than flipping pages of a menu! But as CEO Laxman Narashimhan revealed, some of that tapping doesn’t end with a coffee pick-up. It seems users back out of the app due to long waits and missing menu items. The magic of mobile ordering seems to be in a bit of a grind.

Cultivating the Starbucks Culture

It’s not all about buttons and screens, though. The essence of Starbucks, according to Schultz, lies within its walls—the legendary “third place” that’s neither home nor work, but a cozy refuge replete with the scent of brewing coffee. He’s urging the company to stitch back this fabric of community, making every visit more about the experience and less about the transaction.

Yet, as the company embarks on pouring $600 million into tech advancements, questions brew: Can Starbucks find the perfect blend of innovation and ambiance? With the CEO hinting at making mobile ordering more accessible and teasing exclusive app perks, the future does seem frothy with potential.

Steaming Ahead: No Easy Fixes but a Path Forward

Let’s face it; the current dip in Starbucks’ stock is more bitter than their espresso. The company is navigating through cautious consumer spending and a challenging economic climate, with Narashimhan taking the lead on charting a new course.

Despite no longer wearing the green apron, Schultz’s heart remains with Starbucks. His parting shot? Inspire, exceed expectations, and let a rich culture of servant leadership brew the future of Starbucks. It’s a recipe not just for recovery but for rediscovering the soul of this coffee giant.

So, here’s to hoping that soon, walking into a Starbucks will again feel like a warm embrace, where every sip connects us to a community, and every visit leaves us a tad more rejuvenated. After all, isn’t that what good coffee should do?

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