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Scott Duke Kominers

Starbucks Stores That Only Accept Mobile Orders Sure Beat the Line

Stores that only take orders from a smartphone make a lot of sense.

Skip it.

Skip it.

Photographer: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times

How worried should we be about Starbucks’s recent announcement that it plans to begin testing a new type of store that only takes orders via mobile app — no cashiers?

At first glance the image seems vaguely dystopian: person after person filing through, inevitably wearing AirPods, to pick up caffeine-and-sugar infusions they ordered by pressing a few buttons on their smartphones as they were leaving home — all without a moment of human interaction.