The Starbucks app is a godsend if you need your caffeine ASAP and don’t want to wait in line.
But sometimes the ‘Order Ahead’ function isn’t working. Is it just me, a glitch, or does this happen on numerous occasions? We looked into it and this is what we found…
Why Isn’t “Order Ahead” Available At Starbucks?
Starbucks order ahead service is a popular way to select and order drinks and food on the go through a phone app, and then pick them up in-store when they’re ready. This order feature is so popular that quite often the sheer number of orders makes it impossible for Starbucks staff to keep up, so it becomes unavailable for a short-period of time.
This article takes a look at app ordering from the Starbucks menus and why you can experience delays, interruptions, or non-availability of the service, and we look at what it’s like to be on the other end of the app.
How Do You Order Ahead At Starbucks Anyway?
Starbucks offer an order and pay ahead of time service which you can access through the Starbucks app. Using this you can explore the menu, customize your order, and find the store location that’s best for you.
Then you simply select your items, place your order, and pay on the app. You can indicate when you expect to pick your order up.
Once your order is placed, and you’ve checked that the store has a Starbucks Pickup Location (not all of them do), then you head in and check for your name on the status board.
Why Is My Starbucks Mobile Order Not Working?
Sometimes there are just too many orders placed via the app, and the store cannot keep up. At this point, some stores may turn the app off, and this is when the app appears (to you) as not working.
Unfortunately, recent times has seen this happen repeatedly and increasingly. Although there is simply no limit to the number of people who may use the app at any one time, there is a limit on the number of employees in each Starbucks location.
This leads to impossible workloads, and serious stress for staff who must also deal with a constant stream of impatient and angry customers.
If you are having difficulties placing an order online, the only solution at certain times may be to visit the store in person – if this is possible.
When Does Starbucks Stop Taking Mobile Orders?
The Starbucks app may cease to take orders when the volume of orders overtakes the capacity of store baristas to fulfil them.
Other interruptions to orders include:
- Cups/lids/straws running out. Even though the app is meant to update supplies, it does not always reflect “real time”
- Ingredients running out. This is a common issue at the moment and has nothing to do with the app itself but is rather a supply and shipping interruption.
- Lack of availability of staff – again this is a something caused by external issues and which cannot be reflected through the app
- Starbucks baristas often prepare orders which are not picked up. These are then thrown away, and staff must prepare the order again when the customer does finally turn up. This causes instore delays by turning time and attention away from current . orders.
What Is Going On With Starbucks Mobile Ordering?
The Starbucks app ordering service simply became too popular and seems now to often outpace Starbuck’s capacity to fulfill it.
Recent (global) quarantine and stay at home requirements have a lot to do with the issue and have also contributed to an avoidance of face to face interactions where possible.
So back when the app was only being used by a predictable number of people, it worked well. But currently, the service, along with the unique features the app offers, have become problematic.
What’s It Like Taking Mobile Orders At Starbucks?
Mobile orders now make up more than a quarter of Starbucks US transactions. That’s a lot of orders!! These orders begin as soon as the store opens and continue all day.
These orders are in addition to walk in and drive through orders.
However, app orders, when coming in large numbers, cause the following challenges for staff:
- Not leaving enough time for staff to prepare the order and then greeting staff with angry rebukes
- Placing orders via the app while actually being at the store
- Arriving so late to pick orders up that baristas have had to throw the drinks away
- Ordering drinks which include ingredients that have run out
- Becoming impatient if refunds do not arrive immediately
- Ordering complex and even bizarre concoctions, which the app makes possible, and which takes large amounts of barista time
- Becoming angry and critical of baristas when drinks (such as Tik Tok inspired creations) are not made “properly”
It can be frustrating to plan for a Starbucks afternoon takeaway treat and find that it’s impossible to order via the app (and no apparent reason for it).
However, the dilemma is quite common and caused by very logical reasons. You may have to visit the store in person, make your order outside of the busiest time, or check out availability at a different Starbucks location.