It’s been eons since I’ve simply talked about Starbucks in the news. There have been a number of interesting stories lately.

Of course, the fact that Starbucks will soon be testing a mobile order and pay phone app (which allows customers to both order and pay from the app) is definitely one of the more interesting stories:

Starbucks has bigger plans in mobile payments than most people realize.

This is pretty interesting. The idea is that you wouldn’t have to wait in line at all to place a beverage order or pick it up. Starbucks is adamant that they’ll “get it right.” One can think of many things that could go awry with this. One simple problem would be when someone orders something that a store has run out of – e.g., it’s a hot summer day, and I order a Peach Green Tea Lemonade, however unbeknownst to me, the store has run out of their peach syrup.

Here’s my two cents on the mobile payment ordering: At least in the beginning, only a tiny number of customers will use it. There may be 8 million MyStarbucksRewards members, but not all of them pay with an app. In fact, people using the phone app account for less than one-fifth of transactions at the register.Β  I myself still hand a register barista a physical Starbucks card. On top of that, often when these things roll out, they’re available for iPhone users before those of us who are die-hard Android phone users. That again will narrow the pool of people who’ll use it. And there will be people who simply don’t want to give up ordering a great Starbucks beverage face to face.

I suspect that the app will only have functionality when within a certain number of feet of the store’s registers. In other words, there would be no way to order absent being actually in the store. Some device that picks up the order sends a message to a label printer, which will spit out a label for the bar barista to place in the queue of drinks. And then the beverage gets made. And possibly it gets called out, as it normally would.

Starbucks is keep it super-secret where this will be tested. (Though I think I know. ;)) My own detective work suggests that the stores that will participate in this test are just now receiving their special equipment, and by mid-September the test should be up and running.

Of course, don’t take any of the above as gospel. I probably don’t know any more than you do.

Also, I caught this tiny article in the news: In Japan, Starbucks’ Secret Menu Isn’t So Secret. I’ve never been a huge fan of the “Starbucks Secret Menu.” Actually, it’s not that I don’t support customers creating drinks that they enjoy. By all means, be creative and order a beverage you love. Rather, it’s the cutesy names that are the problem. Like speaking in tongues, they don’t clearly convey to the register barista what the customer really wants. How is a barista to interpret an “Key Lime Pie Frappuccino”? Rather, being able to actually say, “I’d like a Frappuccino with lime juice to the first line, whole milk to the second line, and add 2 pumps white mocha, 2 pumps vanilla, and one pump cinnamon dolce…” is much more useful. Being able to order correctly eliminates ambiguity.

That Starbucks Japan article features the “White Peach Frappuccino.” Whatever it is, it sounds delicious. Remind me again that I really should stay away from Frappuccinos… πŸ˜‰

For news a little closer to the Pacific Northwest, Bainbridge Island will soon get its first Starbucks. It’s long over due! I’m voting for a special Bainbridge Island Blend to make its way to Starbucks’ whole bean wall.

As for a roundup of the recent articles that have been especially popular right here at StarbucksMelody, I’d point you in the direction of the following: 26 Signs You’re Hopelessly Addicted to Starbucks; Dear Customers, Beverage Size Clarification; and finally, Finding the Hidden Messages in the Whole Bean Coffee.

I get told all the time that I update often enough that people miss a lot of what I write. Don’t miss a thing! Subscribe! (Click on the box for future updates when leaving a comment). And this is an open thread. Feel free to discuss anything Starbucks related.