Starbucks Wants to be the Premier Restaurant Technology Platform

CX and Personalization have led Starbucks into the world of SaaS

The Move — Partnering with Brightloom

Earlier this week it was announced that Starbucks is partnering with Brightloom to offer restaurants of all sizes end-to-end, world-class technology solutions. Brightloom, formerly known as eatsa, will use components of Stabucks’ mobile, loyalty and engagement technology to create a comprehensive software as a service (SaaS) platform. The move comes on the heels of Brightloom’s announcement that they’ve landed $30M in funding, some of which will be used to integrate Starbucks’ software into their technology stack. In return, Starbucks will receive equity in Brightloom, giving the coffee-giant a vested interest in the success of the platform moving forward. Brightloom will also be providing Starbucks licensed partners with software solutions, giving these stores access to mobile orders and pickup for the first time. Just as Amazon evolved from a bookstore to a services company by creating AWS, Starbucks is diving headfirst into SaaS technology, and no longer wants to be just a coffee provider.

What does this mean for customers?

Over the past few years Starbucks has pushed its “digital flywheel strategy” that uses technology to keep customers regularly engaged. This includes everything from ordering, to rewards, to payment, to personalization. The strategy has allowed Starbucks to double down on customer experience (CX), understanding that they can impact customers whether they’re in actual stores, on their phone, or on the go. Starbucks understands that CX is a formula, requiring people, process, technology, and metrics to achieve desired outcomes. While other restaurants surely understand this formula, not all of them have the technology or infrastructure to use it effectively. Starbucks hopes that its partnership with Brightloom will help give these restaurants the tools they need in order to deliver the CX that customers expect.

What does this mean for the industry at large?

The back-end technologies of restaurants can sometimes look like a tangled ball of yarn. Multiple systems, multiple tablets, and only one staff to make it all work. When these technologies don’t work together, both restaurants and customers suffer. The key issue though, is that the data from these technologies is spread out. This not only increases the likelihood of inaccurate reporting, but it makes it nearly impossible to provide customers with the relevant and personalized experiences they crave.

The Starbucks digital flywheel strategy was built around solving these issues. By having a cohesive back-end system, Starbucks makes its stores more efficient and is able to collect and store customer data in a single location. Starbucks understands these issues because they’ve already solved them, and they now want to help other restaurants solve them as well.

As we said before, Starbucks no longer wants to be just a coffee provider. It wants to be the premier restaurant technology provider as well.