Starbucks’ 4 Key Advantages in the Quick Service Space

By Bijan Shahrokhi in Mobile Loyalty, Mobile Payment

It has been 5 years since Howard Schultz came back to Starbucks, shifted gears and changed the future of the company. Starbucks is now bigger than ever and their revenue is still increasing at over 13% a year. Here are four reasons why Starbucks has had such a strong and successful come back, and why it is staying ahead of competitors in the competitive Quick Service industry.


Centralized Decision Making Process: In contrast to most quick service chains, all Starbucks stores are owned by the head office. This makes the decision making process and implementation much simpler, especially for key innovative projects such as Starbucks’ mobile prepaid card program. Starbucks is able to quickly adapt to customer demands, discover new trends, and roll out relevant solutions, which will be executed across all Starbucks stores. Starbucks does not have to worry about negotiating with franchises that sometimes do not think about the long term goals of the company. The head office does what’s right for the business!

Data Driven Marketing: Starbucks strongly believes in big data analytics and making decisions based on customer habits and needs. Starbucks mobile store cards are helping them learn a lot about their customer habits and purchasing behavior. They use this data to offer promotions that are very cost effective and relevant. Everything is done automatically and in the cloud. Starbucks’ investment in Square, and Howard Schultz’s seat in Square’s board of directors, also ensures that the Starbucks has access to Square’s data. Think about all the data Starbucks acquires from other quick service businesses (including its competitors) signing up to Square.

Leverage Technology: Starbucks leverages the technology to learn from its customers and to offer promotions and loyalty programs that are relevant to each segment of their customers. Starbucks is the first company to launch a mobile payment card in the fast food industry, and it has been a huge success. Mobile store cards now represent 5% of Starbucks transactions and are growing rapidly (source). Howard Schultz thinks that this is just the beginning for Starbucks and that they will see more revenue increase from the use of their mobile store card. Starbucks’ promotions are all customized according to your own purchasing habits and delivered to your mobile device.

Great Relationship with Customers: Starbucks staff are always smiling. They make sure Starbucks is truly your home away from home. They also leverage the technology to build a personal relationship with customers. The Starbucks mobile store card even tells them when to send a birthday gift!

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