Starbucks is on a mission to create a cohesive, state-of-the-art technological ecosystem for smart, responsive stores of the future. By lighting up new applications and endpoints, each storefront becomes a powerful data processing center, where IoT sensor data renders actionable insights to enhance operations and drive customer engagement.
Starbucks takes pride in delivering superior, personalized customer experiences, but their employees – who they refer to as partners – have a litany of tasks at hand in addition to connecting with customers. With 100M customers served weekly and 3,200 items on the menu after customizations, saving time is critical for partners to maximize their focus on customers.
Leveraging IoT, Starbucks gained an opportunity to free up their partners’ time by automating one of their many routine operational tasks: monitoring and logging temperatures in cold storage areas across 9,500 US company-owned stores.
Enable partners to prioritize customer engagement
Streamline food safety and compliance reporting
Identify potential food safety and inventory issues in real time
Reduce wait times for customers in the queue
We want our baristas to just focus on customizing your beverages, and connecting with the customer, connecting with you.
When Starbucks deploys technology in their stores, they look for open, scalable technologies with long-term, sustainable value. Seamless integration with their existing systems, processes, and workflows, along with a scalable network infrastructure, is integral for creating a foundation to address immediate needs and future goals.
When it comes to emergent technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), Starbucks favors turnkey, device-to-cloud solutions with rapid, painless deployment to generate immediate value. They sought a single vendor that could deliver and deploy everything needed to remotely capture sensor data and deliver it securely to their existing store application.
To address their unique use case and deployment environment, Starbucks required powerful wireless technology to penetrate dense materials, such as the metal exterior of their refrigerators. Durability and resiliency were key for device installation to withstand changing temperature and humidity conditions and help protect the device from dislodging or displacement by store partners or overnight deliveries.
Starbucks needed a partner who could deploy the solution in less than a year across their 9,500 company-owned stores nationwide. In the midst of a global pandemic, finding a partner with a strong supply chain to support hardware delivery, along with one who could both provide and install the solution was a critical requirement.
“We want the full end-to-end packaged capability … with the electrical, mechanical, the data management in and out, as well as deployment and support, which with Comcast's experience with us … it felt like and looked like the right direction for us, and it was.”
Starbucks partnered with MachineQ to deliver and deploy a digital temperature monitoring solution across their distributed enterprise. The solution enables Starbucks to automatically collect temperature readings from inside their refrigerators, eliminating the need for partners to manually check and record temperature data, while streamlining food safety and compliance reporting.
With the solution deployed, Starbucks automatically captures temperature readings in their refrigerators and freezers every 15 minutes – collecting roughly 300 million data points per month – which fuels automation and temperature control across their stores.
MachineQ provided a complete device-to-cloud solution, including LoRaWAN certified devices, best-in-class gateways, secure and scalable network infrastructure, and the integrations needed to deliver the data to Starbucks end application. In partnership with Comcast Business, MachineQ also provided nationwide deployment services and support, making it a turnkey, end-to-end offering.
MachineQ's MQflex Multi-Sensor device leverages LoRaWAN technology, so unlike most wireless technologies, the signal can easily penetrate the dense, metal exterior of Starbucks refrigerators for reliable data collection and delivery. Built for scaled, enterprise deployments, the MQflex utilizes custom firmware – engineered and managed by MachineQ – and enterprise-grade batteries designed for low-temperature environments, providing Starbucks with a 99.99% device success rate over the course of the deployment.
The Magnetic Mounting Bracket uses industrial strength magnets with a stainless-steel ball chain for additional reinforcement, ensuring the MQflex devices are securely installed in Starbucks refrigerators. The mounting bracket was purpose-built for retail's rigorous environment, alleviating Starbucks concerns about devices being dislodged due to the wear-and-tear of daily operations or changing environmental conditions inside refrigerators.
The solution leverages MachineQ's IoT connectivity platform, which provides Starbucks with a dedicated, secure, and scalable LoRaWAN network enabling streamlined, economical data transmission from their stores to the cloud. With a single MachineQ gateway installed at each US company-owned location, Starbucks has secure, reliable connectivity to drive innovation across their stores. In addition to powering the temperature monitoring solution, the LoRaWAN network gives Starbucks the ability to add additional use cases to maximize their ROI.
In partnership with Comcast Business, MachineQ successfully deployed 114,000 devices across 9,500 stores nationwide in less than a year.
MQflex multi-sensor devices installed
Locations deployed across all 50 states
From the start when we said ‘go’ to all the stores deployed over the US, we did it in 12 months.
By implementing a digital temperature monitoring solution powered by MachineQ, Starbucks eliminated the need for their store partners to manually record temperatures, a process that previously took approximately 25 minutes per store, per day. As a result, Starbucks saves 85.5M minutes annually across its 9,500 company-owned US stores, which is time that partners can now spend serving and connecting with customers.
With temperature data at their fingertips, store partners gain actionable insights and automated alerts for risk mitigation. For example, if power failures occur overnight, alerts are triggered for immediate handling and resolution to avoid spoilage and loss. By leveraging real-time, simplified data, they can better execute their food safety initiatives.
The results are what the store managers tell me. And the store managers are thrilled.
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