The Starbucks Mobile Order Trick To Cut Down Drive-Thru Waiting Time

If you want to grab a cup of coffee from the Starbucks drive-thru before work, you should be prepared to kick up your feet and play on your phone because, friend, it's going to take a while. According to Bloomberg, a 2018 QSR Magazine survey revealed that when it comes to drive-thru orders, Dunkin' gets you your coffee fix in 2.90 minutes and McDonald's can have you sipping caffeine in 3.98. But Starbucks? Well, you'll likely be waiting in your car a full 4.44 minutes before a barista can slap a cup of joe in your hand. And although this survey was conducted several years ago, the numbers still seem to hold up today.

As Insider reports, in 2022, Starbucks unveiled that out of all the reasons a potential customer would vote to skip ordering a frappe, a long line at the drive-thru was at the top of the list. But you don't have to throw in the towel on trying to make a quick drive-thru stop for your mocha latte. According to The Takeout, you just have to take advantage of a magical little app you probably already have on your phone. Here's how mobile ordering can help you get your morning coffee faster.

Starbucks mobile ordering works in-store and in-drive-thru

First implemented in 2015, per its website, Starbucks mobile ordering has become so popular that the brand actually started opening pick-up-only locations in 2019 (via The Observer). However, mobile ordering doesn't just cut down on your time standing in line at Starbucks' stores. According to The Takeout, a Starbucks employee reported it will also help you get your coffee faster in the drive-thru.

As the unnamed associate noted, while ordering in the drive-thru the old-fashioned way involves paying for and picking up your drink at multiple windows, you can avoid these extra steps by placing your order by app once you've made it close to the front of the line. After that, you'll just have to tell the folks at the speaker box that you're here for your mobile order. The employee also pointed out that, unlike those tricky secret menu items, baristas aren't hindered by someone mobile ordering ahead in the drive-thru. 

That's because all you're essentially doing is foregoing placing your order via the screen. Additionally, this means no extra work is required on the Starbucks associates' part, and you'll likely be getting your drink faster — it's a win-win.

More mobile ordering tricks and tips

Even if think you're a Starbucks mobile order connoisseur, there is still clearly more to learn about this handy dandy tool for getting your Starbies fix. Pay close attention to this next trick, travelers. According to USA Today, if you're at one of the most stressful airports and want some Starbucks before your flight, mobile ordering ahead is the most pain-free way to get your hands on a lemon loaf before your plane takes off. 

In fact, certain Starbucks airport locations only started offering the option to order ahead in 2022. This was a welcome change because, as the outlet notes, frequent flyers often refer to the length of lines at airport Starbucks stores as the stuff of nightmares. However, by mobile ordering your go-to coffee after you check your bags, your Starbucks will be waiting for you once you make it to your plane's gate. And our next and last mobile ordering tip is probably the most important one. 

While this may come off as a no-brainer, Travel and Leisure reports you should always double-check that you're sending your mobile order to the correct Starbucks location. However, if you ever forget to verify that your mobile order went to the right place, Travel and Leisure also reveals you don't have to panic. You can still get your drink without having to pay for it twice if you show your barista the mobile order receipt.