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Starbucks Tests Delivery Options in New York City and Seattle

The coffee chain has partnered with delivery app Postmates.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

At its annual meeting of shareholders, which is happening now, Starbucks announced a partnership with delivery company Postmates to launch Starbucks delivery. As was previously reported, Starbucks' first delivery option will work within its new phone application.

There are now three ways to skip the Starbucks line.

This is a three-pronged launch: The first option is called Mobile Order & Pay. Customers using this system can order and pay through the app and pick up their order when it's ready. This service has been testing in Portland (and recently expanded into Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska).

Starbuck Delivery expands upon Mobile Order & Pay to also offer app users delivery in partnership with Postmates. This service will become available to Starbucks app users later this year, according to a company representative. In a release, Starbucks outlined the details of the new plan: Users will be able to order food and beverage through the app and "receive on-demand delivery within defined areas." Postmates currently operates in 22 cities, including San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Seattle. The test period for the new program will begin in Seattle later this year.

Postmates recently focused efforts on streamlining its service and increasing efficiency. The company records how much time each merchant takes to produce an order, averages that, and then assigns new jobs to drivers by matching the amount of time it will take the driver to get to the restaurant to the amount of prep time a restaurant needs. Most other delivery apps simply rely on availability of drivers — the driver that is available gets the next job.

Postmates strategies mimic language Starbucks has used to describe the development and purpose of its app. Last July, the company's Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman said of the app's order ahead feature, "We're trying to get things down to a science." The idea is that customers should be able to skip the line completely.

You'll never have to leave your desk.

A second delivery option is also rolling out this year. Called "Green Apron" barista delivery, this option allows customers to order food and beverages from Starbucks and have it delivered within office buildings. Per a release, "this model allows Starbucks to identify targeted solutions for environments that can benefit from an integrated service model." Starbucks plans to test Green Apron delivery in New York City in the second half of 2015.

The other big news that came out of Starbucks' shareholder and press event was that it will be splitting its stock. Shares will split on March 30 for the first time since 2005, and for the sixth time ever.

UPDATE 3/18; 3:20 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to Starbucks Delivery as Mobile Order & Pay. They are two separate but related features.

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