Two major New York-area airports are set to be the second and third with Starbucks locations exclusively designed for mobile orders and pickups.
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA) will both get new Starbucks Pickup locations at some point in 2024, airport concessionaire OTG says.
The concept allows customers to place an order solely via the Starbucks mobile app and then take their coffee (or food) to go.
This expansion is the latest step by the coffee giant to beef up its mobile ordering capability at airports, less than three years after Starbucks stores first began offering the option at airport concourses. It’s a change customers are likely to notice at more airports in the future.
Starbucks Pickup concept at airports
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SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY
Launched in recent years, the mobile-only Starbucks Pickup locations represent just a tiny fraction of the coffee chain’s stores — only 1% of its U.S. portfolio, in fact.
At airports, the list is even shorter: Only one has debuted the concept so far.
OTG opened the first Starbucks Pickup airport location earlier this fall inside Terminal E at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH); it plans to open two additional locations at the airport next fall.
Unlike a more traditional Starbucks, your only option is to place an order on your smartphone.
Once inside the terminal, you’ll want to open your Starbucks mobile app and enable location services or manually choose your location. Then, place your order.
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When you arrive at the Starbucks Pickup location, watch the status board for your order. Once it shows “ready,” your order should be done — and you can grab your drink or food.
It’s a similar process to what you’ll find at Starbucks’ 87 other pickup locations across the U.S. It’s a concept Starbucks and OTG leaders see as a fitting option for airports, even though the concept has graced just one terminal so far.
“This innovative, mobile-only ordering experience is already an incredibly fitting format for an airport environment, where customers value efficiency, seamlessness, and dependability above all else,” OTG CEO Rick Blatstein said in a statement.
Pickup locations are planned for Terminal C at LaGuardia and Terminal C at Newark in 2024, OTG officials tell TPG.
Mobile ordering expansion
Even before it started opening these mobile-only locations, Starbucks had been dramatically scaling up mobile ordering capability for airport customers.
In 2021, Dulles International Airport (IAD) outside Washington, D.C., became the first airport location to allow customers to order on their mobile app.
Today, a company spokesperson tells TPG “nearly all” of its airport locations offer this option — often a line-skipping, time-saving tool when the wait times are long during those busy morning hours.
You can now also do this at Starbucks’ thousands of other licensed locations run by third-party companies at hospitals, colleges, grocery stores, retailers … and, indeed, airports.
As of November, about 31% of Starbucks orders came via the mobile app — up by more than 30% from a year ago, company executives revealed on a recent call with analysts.
Between new pickup-only locations planned in the coming years and vastly scaled-up mobile ordering capability, Starbucks customers will have more options when grabbing coffee at an airport concourse in the near future. It’ll provide a convenient way to skip the line (while also earning Delta SkyMiles) in the process.