Starbucks’ Big Move to Support Employees: Mobile Orders Get a Pause Button

is taking significant steps to improve the and reduce the workload on its employees. The company will soon give shift supervisors and managers the authority to pause mobile orders during peak hours.

Starting from January, an updated version of the store iPad app will be rolled out to facilitate this. This move is aimed at addressing situations where the influx of mobile orders is too high or if employee absences are hindering the smooth running of operations.

Mobile ordering is an increasingly popular feature among Starbucks' customers. In the recent quarter, it contributed to nearly 27% of the company's US sales. As per the data, approximately 31.2 million people used the Starbucks app to place orders and make payments in 2021.

Effects of the Changes

  • Customers will be informed via an alert on the app if they are unable to place an order due to paused mobile orders.
  • On the employees' side, this new feature is set to be a welcome change. Current reports suggest that baristas often feel overwhelmed, mainly due to persistent understaffing which gets exacerbated with constant mobile orders, specifically on promotional days.
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Starbucks baristas have been advocating for improved staffing and scheduling over the past few years. The current changes seem to be in line with their demands. Supervisors and managers, with the current system, do have the power to halt mobile orders citing staffing issues.

Interestingly, while this new feature appears to be a response to recent union strikes, a representative from Starbucks has clarified that it was in the planning stages months before the strikes. They insisted that this is an enhancement to the in use, rather than a change in policy.

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