2015-01-23_19.58.45You may have seen in the news that Starbucks was planning a store manager leadership conference, to be held in Orlando this year. Howard Schultz has written a letter to his partners detailing that this leadership conference has been canceled, and that instead Starbucks “will reinvest the money required to host this one-time event into the technology and digital improvements that will serve store managers, their teams and all our partners for years to come.” ( A partner, whom I don’t know, sent me the letter via email.)

It looks like Starbucks is driving technology into new directions. There are even investor analysts who write that “technology drives expectations” at Starbucks. It’s been in the news that Starbucks is intending to roll out mobile order and pay (via the Starbucks phone app) nationally. I’ve seen partners request such technology improvements as having their coffee passport in a mobile phone app format. Here is another partner asking for an app for their coffee passport. (I’ve heard gossip that this is in development, but please don’t quote me on that.) Another idea is a phone app that allows partners to see their schedules. (I’ve also heard gossip that this in the works too, but again do not quote me on that.)

Actually, I’d love to see a customer version of a Starbucks coffee passport mobile phone app – and for the Android phone too please! 😉

While I know that it’s disappointing to hear that Starbucks canceled the big store manager leadership conference in Orlando, I want to couch this in the framework that Starbucks is working on exciting things relevant to the partner experience, and intended to improve the partner experience. It’s interesting – I was Facebook messaging with a Starbucks store manager yesterday about this big announcement, and her comment to me was, “we managers will bounce back just fine.”

I don’t mean to write this as a downer that a big conference has been canceled, rather it’s interesting to think about what Starbucks will be doing with their digital experiences in the future. (What’s below is only excerpts from the letter from Howard).

What technology changes do you want to see?