Lazy latte drinkers around the country can rejoice as Starbucks announced today that it is expanding its “preferred” delivery partnership with Uber Eats, which will be available throughout the U.S. by early 2020. Starbucks said the nationwide rollout comes following an eleven-market trial in cities like Miami, Seattle and New York proved successful.
It’s only Tuesday and already it has been a busy week for both Starbucks and Uber’s corporate communications departments. The news that has been both announced and broken have been chock-a-block with tidbits that point to potential futures of both companies.
Let’s start with Starbucks, and this little nugget from today’s press release:
Through the agreement, the companies will collaborate on innovation and technology integration. Starbucks and Uber Eats will continue to focus on delivery packaging, in-store operations, and a quick order-to-door delivery window. (emphasis ours)
This is the second technology integration announcement from the coffee giant in as many days. Yesterday, Starbucks announced that as part of its investment in Brightloom (formerly eatsa), Brightloom will integrate some aspects of Starbucks’ tech stack. As my colleague, Jenn Marston wrote:
Starbucks said it has granted Brightloom a software license that allows the latter to “select components of Starbucks proprietary digital flywheel software.” In other words, Brightloom will integrate features from Starbucks’ customer engagement platform like its mobile order and pay system, loyalty program, and personalization features. Basically all the stuff that makes Starbucks customers continue to use the mobile app.
Starbucks is becoming more like Amazon, which built up its own cloud infrastructure before spinning it off for others to use as Amazon Web Services. Will we see a similar Starbucks-as-a-Service? There are certainly enough retailers who would kill for a world-class mobile customer engagement platform, and if they could lease it like AWS, that could provide a whole new side biz for the ‘bucks.
But the week has also been interesting for Uber Eats. Yesterday, TechCrunch revealed that Uber is testing out a monthly subscription service in San Francisco and Chicago. For $24.99 a month, customers get a fixed discount on rides, free rentals of Jump bikes and scooters, and free delivery through Uber Eats.
It’s a smart play by Uber to keep people (and their data) on its platform. Why go to DoorDash when you can get discounted rides and free food delivery through Uber? Becoming the “preferred” delivery partner for Starbucks only sweetens that appeal. Especially for those lazy latte drinkers.