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Spotlight: What's Brewing At Starbucks?


Starbucks wants to be more efficient but it is risking the fragile loyalty of its most devoted customers.

The ubiquitous chain plans a major push to get coffee lovers to use its mobile app to place their orders, but regulars prefer to buy their lattes by waiting in the queue.

According to reports, many love to chat with their baristas while visiting the coffee chain.

Starbucks launched its mobile order feature nationwide in September 2015. The Mobile Order and Pay feature allows customers to order with their smartphone and skip the line.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson told shareholders on Wednesday that the company plans to make its mobile app attractive to both customers in a rush and those who want to take it easy.

That's ALL customers, not just loyalty members.

Every Starbucks could become more of a quick stop than a meeting place -- a glorifed Dunkin' Donuts.

"When it comes to how a retailer focuses on the customer, we see too many examples of businesses choosing between an experience that solely focuses on convenience or one that simply highlights community," said Johnson. "But we don't believe there needs to be this type of a tradeoff, and our third place can and will continue to unite both experiences."

While human interaction may be going away, Starbucks is betting on social media and gimmick drinks to boost traffic.

Starbucks has launched a new, over-the-top Frappuccino-- the Crystal Ball Frappuccino, available on Thursday, March 22. The product will only be on the menu for four days or as long as supplies last, according to Business Insider.

The cream-based Frappuccino uses peach flavors and is topped with whipped cream and rock candy crystals.

Meanwhile, Zacks Investment Research have downgraded shares of Starbucks from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on March 6.

According to Zacks, "The consequential increment in spending is likely to create pressure on its bottom line in the near term. Also, economic, geopolitical and consumer headwinds continue to impact Starbucks' results. Meanwhile, the company's shares have underperformed the industry last year. Earnings estimates for the current-quarter and year has gone up in the past 60 days."

SBUX is currently trading at $58.53, up $0.06 or 0.09% on the Nasdaq.

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