Starbucks and their process failings

I've written a couple of posts on here over the years highlighting process failings at different institutions (and I have another one brewing about a major high street UK bank). But one thing that always amazes me is the simple things that can be done that will make a huge difference. Last year I mentioned the fact that Starbucks have decided to stop brewing decaffeinated coffee after lunch unless people have specifically ordered it. This simple move has contributed to alleged savings of $400m per year.

However I am currently sitting in a Starbucks sipping a latte and another process issue has arisen which has not been dealt with it. I tweeted about this last week when a similar thing happened. At the moment it is quite early and things are a little quiet. When someone orders some food it gets heated up and brought out. The server has a quick look around and can usually identify who ordered the food. But in about two hours this place will be heaving with people and the same process will not work. A server will wonder out with a freshly grilled sandwich and spend five minutes wondering around calling "Pannini? Anyone order the pannini?"

Surely the simple solution would be adopt the process rivals Costa Coffee use which is to assign each customer ordering food a table marker. They take this table marker to their table and the food order is matched to that marker. Instead of wondering around calling out the food each sever can look for the marker on the table confident that the food order will match that person.

It's simple enough so why not adopt the process? The incremental cost must be minimal and the additional goodwill in customer service (not to mention getting your food when it's still hot) must be worth it.

Any Starbucks employees want to comment?

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