Today Starbucks opens its very first "express" store in the Financial District, at 14 Wall Street. The tiny space across from the Stock Exchange has no seating, and a menu limited to things that can be made quickly – no Frappuccinos, in other words. But the real express part comes with the ordering system. An employee is stationed behind a POS in the middle of the shop, so that people place their orders before they get to the register. They then pay at the counter, pick up their drink, and leave through a different door, all in a smooth, latte-fueled loop. According to Wired, this is a system that the chain's VP of design developed after running multiple top secret simulations of the coffee ordering process. The shop also uses Starbucks' app for ordering and paying in advance, to speed things up even further.
This is the first of five express shops to open in Manhattan, and if all goes smoothly, the concept will presumably expand to other parts of the country before long. The coffee giant has been focusing a lot of attention on concepts like this, and like its fancy "Reserve" tasting rooms (like the one in Williamsburg) so expect to see more of those (and delivery) in the coming years, while the regular old Starbucks go extinct.