Starbucks opens first express store aimed at delivery, pickup orders in China

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Starbucks on Friday opened its first express retail store in China aimed to transform pickup and delivery for its customers.

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The coffee chain’s first-ever Starbucks Now store opened in Beijing’s financial district and featured a minimalist design and limited seating — much different from its typical stores. One or two baristas will be at the express location to help with walk-in orders as well as those made on its app and website.

One of the store’s main feature is an in-wall system where delivery riders are directed to a designated pickup portal for the order they are delivering.

Starbucks on Friday opened its first express retail store in China. (Starbucks)

“The Starbucks Now store is a testament to our unwavering commitment to delivering innovative customer experiences through new retail formats,” Starbucks China Retail’s COO and president Leo Tsoi said in a statement. “This new retail format and design approach provides us with a platform to offer customers a fast and convenient retail experience to suit their on-the-go lifestyle.”

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The express store will also fulfill orders that nearby Starbucks locations would generally take on, giving baristas at these cafes more time to focus on in-store orders. Baristas at a central kitchen will handle orders during peak times.

“Combining the signature Starbucks café environment with Mobile Order & Pay and Starbucks Delivers customer experiences, this streamlined experience allows customers and delivery riders to conveniently get their favorite beverages and food at Starbucks,” the company said in a statement.

Starbucks has been expanding its delivery program in China amid competition from other chains such as Luckin Coffee. Starbucks said it plans to open more Starbucks Now stores in “high-traffic areas” in the country.

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It’s unclear if there are plans to open a similar store in the U.S.