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Starbucks takes action in Tech Company Brightloom



Starbucks
Corp.


SBUX 0.69%

said it took a share in a digital technology company to speed up the offer of mobile ordering and payment options in the global stores to improve customer convenience. [19659004] The Seattle-based coffee giant invests and secures a board of directors in Brightloom, a company founded in 2015 under the former name of eatsa, as it seeks to accelerate the use of technology from stores around the world.

Brightloom will make available to Starbucks licensees the coffee chain mobile order and payment system, loyalty benefits and delivery order management. Brightloom and Starbucks will also sell access to the platform to other restaurants trying to quickly deploy their own digital programs, the companies say.

Both companies said that Starbucks ownership was significant but would not disclose the specific financial terms. Franchisees abroad expected to be the first to sign up.

Starbucks ̵

1; the world's largest coffee chain for stores and revenue, with more than 30,000 locations – was one of the first major restaurant chains to invest in a sophisticated loyalty program, with nearly 17 million members currently. But the adoption of the digital offering among retail licenses has been less widespread. Less than half of Starbucks markets around the world now have the company's mobile app, and only eight have digital payments, according to the company.

Digital ordering and delivery programs are becoming increasingly important for restaurants trying to attract more customers in the midst of intensifying competition.

"It went from something that was nice to be table stakes," said Adam Brotman, Brightlo's CEO and a former Starbucks global retail and digital manager, on Monday.

In addition to delivery, restaurants are also expanding mobile payments to make purchases easier and more attractive to younger consumers. Mobile payment is still small in the US, but is well established in Asia. 30 percent of the restaurants offer mobile payments, according to a survey by US restaurant operators of the Toast Inc. food service technology provider this year.

Especially large restaurant chains are increasing their technology investments.

McDonalds
Corp

bought an Israeli digital startup earlier this year to improve execution orders and campaigns. The burger chain is also experimenting with voice-activated ordering at throughputs.

Starbucks is facing increasing competition from abroad

Luckin coffee
Inc.,

a recent public Chinese company specializing in delivery and mobile ordering. Luckin said on Monday that it had entered into a joint partnership to launch coffee shops in the Middle East and India, which will also use its technology, which includes mobile ordering, payment and delivery.

Write to Heather Haddon at heather.haddon@wsj.com

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