Starbucks last week opened its third delivery-focused “Star Kitchen” in China in the country’s capital in partnership with Alibaba’s New Retail-driven grocery chain, Freshippo.
Part of a Starbucks-Alibaba collaboration announced in August, Star Kitchens were set up inside Freshippo locations to streamline the order-fulfillment process and speed up delivery times. Alibaba’s local-services division, Ele.me, handles the deliveries, which reach customers in as fast as 30 minutes. The new Star Kitchen will be located inside Freshippo’s Shilibao location in Beijing.
The first two Star Kitchens were launched late last year in a Freshippo store in Shanghai’s Baodi Mall and in Hangzhou next to Alibaba’s global headquarters. According to Freshippo, the order volume generated from those two location more than doubled over six months. Plans to expand the Star Kitchen program to other Freshippo locations is underway, Freshippo said.
“In the future, we hope to expand the Star Kitchen service in other Freshippo locations to give our customers in China the high-quality coffee they are familiar with. As a leader in the coffee industry, Starbucks China will continue to roll new digital initiatives to ensure all Starbucks fans in China to have an unparalleled and upgraded experience,” the Seattle-based coffee giant said in a release.
Similar to the Hangzhou and Shanghai branches, the new Star Kitchen-equipped Freshippo store in Beijing will also have a Starbucks self-serve kiosk. Coffee lovers can place their orders via the Freshippo app, and the Star Kitchen will make them available for pick-up at the unmanned station within 15 minutes.
Watch: See the Starbucks Self-Service Kiosk in Action
Alibaba and Starbucks first partnered in 2017, when Starbucks cafes began accepting mobile wallet Alipay for payment. In December 2017, they opened the , the largest Starbucks in the world and its first roastery outside of the U.S. The two-story, 30,000-square-foot store seamlessly integrates a real-time, in-store and online customer experience, powered by Alibaba’s Mobile Taobao app and the company’s augmented-reality technology.