Will cloud-based services elevate Starbucks beyond coffee retailing?
In 2017, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, spoke to attendees at that year’s NRF Big Show in New York. The genius of Amazon.com, Mr. Branson asserted, was that the company’s vision of itself was much more than simply being a retailer.
Virgin, which defined itself more broadly than the record stores that once helped make the company a significant force in that specialty retail niche, had extended its brand to more than 400 ventures, ranging from hospitality to space travel.
“People who own retail stores should not think of only being retailers,” Mr. Branson said. “They need to be entrepreneurial and spin off businesses off the back of the retailer to make them money to help the retail stores survive.”
Starbucks is another brand that has expanded its definition of self. The company has moved into consumer packaged goods, distributing coffee and adjacent beverage categories to retail stores and online.
Now, the coffee giant is looking to use its experience and technical learning to become a service provider for other foodservice businesses with the planned launch of a cloud-based platform providing end-to-end solutions focused on improving the customer experience in restaurants.
Starbucks has signed a licensing agreement with Brightloom, formerly eatsa, to develop a suite of solutions from the coffee giant’s digital flywheel. The companies will partner in the development of cloud-based solutions for restaurant operators designed to better connect customers via mobile ordering, third-party deliver solutions and more.
“We have experienced first-hand the power that comes through digital customer connections that are relevant to the customer,” said Kevin Johnson, Starbucks CEO, in a statement. “The results we’ve seen in customer loyalty and frequency within our digital ecosystem speak for themselves, and we’re excited to apply these innovations toward an industry solution that elevates the customer experience across the restaurant industry.”
- Sir Richard Branson at NRF: Are retailers looking outside the box? – RetailWire
- Starbucks Backs Restaurant Tech Company in Creation of End-to-End Digital Platform for Restaurant Industry – Starbucks Coffee Company
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will a cloud-based platform elevate Starbucks beyond being just a coffee company? Will other foodservice retailers be receptive to a digital suite of solutions that has Starbucks behind it?