No need to make eye contact with any humans if you prefer not to
Starbucks has opened a new “pickup cafe” in New York City that uses Amazon’s “just walk out” cashierless tech, the companies said Thursday. The store in midtown Manhattan is designed for customers who want to buy coffee or a snack quickly and can’t possibly wait the extra minutes they’d normally spend interacting with a barista or cashier.
The new store on 59th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues is one of three Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go locations planned, with two more scheduled to open in 2022. It has the full Starbucks menu and a “curated assortment of food and beverages” in its Amazon Go market section, including sandwiches, salads, and snacks. Starbucks’ senior vice president of global growth and development, Katie Young, said in a statement that Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go (catchy branding, that) is “designed to provide our customers with an experience that delivers convenience and connection in an effortless way.”
Last year, Starbucks said in its third-quarter earnings call with investors that it had suffered a sharp drop in revenue due to the pandemic and planned to close hundreds of stores in the US and Canada. It also said it would be opening pickup locations in urban areas and double drive-thru lanes at some of its suburban stores. The company ultimately avoided layoffs, but some Starbucks store workers have reported that their locations are understaffed.
To get your coffee from this Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go location, preorder your drink using the Starbucks mobile app, choose the store at “59th between Park & Lex w/Amazon Go,” then head to the store where it will be waiting on a counter. Drink orders that are in progress will be displayed on a digital screen above the counter.
The store has a lounge and seating area (which seems to contradict the “get in, get out fast” concept). To enter the Amazon Go market area and the seating area, you’ll use the “in-store code” from the Amazon app, then insert your credit card or scan the palm of your hand if you’re already registered with its Amazon One program that launched in its Go stores in Seattle last year.
As you take items off of shelves, they’ll be added to your virtual shopping cart; if you put them back, they’ll be removed from your cart. When you’re done shopping, you can leave or sit in the lounge and not interact with any other humans if that is what you prefer. Your card will be charged either way once you exit the store.
There will be Starbucks employees at the store to make the drinks and help customers as they shop. The new store will be open daily at 6AM and will stay open later than other Starbucks cafes, closing at 10PM on weekdays and 9PM on weekends.
Correction November 18th 2:11PM ET: An earlier version of this story said two additional stores would open this year. It should have said the stores will open in 2022. We regret the error.
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