Boy do I have the perfect gift for all of you, in the form of the best news you've probably heard this year. Winter is upon us and the colder weather makes it all the more difficult to leave the comforts of our warm beds in pursuit of coffee: but friends, those days are over. Starbucks will start delivering coffee right to your door, so keep those PJs on and Orange Is the New Black rolling because you're not going anywhere. Well, you know, once it actually launches.
Next year Starbucks, in partnership with Uber Eats, will expand its delivery service to more than 2,000 locations nationwide, according to Nation's Restaurant News. The company reportedly announced the exciting news at its biennial investor day in New York on Dec. 14. So, not only can you order on your phone and have your vanilla latte waiting for you at the store, but now it'll can even be waiting at your front door. The downside is that the rollout isn't set to happen until March or April of 2019, so you'll still have to head to the shop for a little while longer.
Even once Starbucks delivery is fully available, not every item on the menu will be. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson told CNBC that drinks that don't travel well will not be available for delivery. He mentioned the cappuccino's might be nixed from the options because it's heavy foam isn't really travel-proof. "We were very thoughtful about this,” Johnson said.
But some limited Starbucks delivery is better than no Starbucks delivery, right?
The answer to that question is probably yes, judging by the stats on how people are ordering their coffee these days — which makes the push towards expanding Starbucks' delivery service not surprising. Per Nation's Restaurant News, it looks like more and more people are using their phones to place Starbucks orders as opposed to dealing with a barista. In 2018, 51 percent of orders were taken in-store as opposed to through mobile ordering, down from 61 percent in 2016. In fact, the site notes, mobile ordering almost tripled over the past two years. The easier the better, right?
Not only do the numbers show that people are favoring more convenient methods for caffeinating, Starbucks already knows that delivery is something that people want. The coffee chain first tested the concept in 100 stores in Miami, Florida, and, per Nation's Restaurant News, Starbucks COO Rosalind Brewer said its success prompted the upcoming expansion.
Before Starbucks' pilot program in Miami, they also partnered with Postmates in 2015 in the Seattle area, and the delivery coverage stemming from that partnership is now up to 400 markets, according to Nation's Restaurant News. Additionally, they've also seen success with its full delivery program in China that services more than 2,000 stores across 30 cities, according to CNBC.
You know what else Starbucks has in China? A completely virtual store that was just announced on Dec. 14. Starbucks teamed up with e-commerce company Alibaba to bring the "first of its kind" store to China. According to Starbucks, the "virtual store" basically gives users a "one-stop Starbucks digital experience across" its app and other Alibaba apps. Per the press release, the virtual store also allows more ways for members to earn Starbucks Reward Stars, because they're offered a wide array of shopping like Starbucks merchandise from the Starbucks Tmall store.
A virtual Starbucks store might be something America can look forward to. But for now, I'm just going to sit here in my unicorn slippers and wait for a Venti Iced Red Eye to show up at my door.