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Since it needs a professional to take care of its mobile app and other online services, Chipotle hires former Starbucks CIO, Curt Garner. The restaurant chain said that there was an open position for a chief information officer and Garner seemed the perfect man for the job.
The move may prove crucial for Chipotle’s business because Starbucks is renowned for its user-friendly mobile apps among retailers. While Garner was on board, Starbucks was able to focus more on online audiences and see its mobile sales jump to 20 percent of total sales in the U.S. in less than a decade.
That’s incredible especially because many retailers struggle for years to lure new customers through their mobile apps and online services. And few were successful.
Starbuck’s mobile app became popular because of a clever rewards program and the ability to pay by phone without further complications. But the coffeehouse chain doesn’t stop here. Its tech team constantly improves the app and website. Recently, the coffee giant unveiled an order-and-pay-ahead feature that may further boost sales.
But Garner is no new entry at Starbucks. He worked for the coffee giant for nearly 20 years. When Garner was first hired, the coffee company didn’t have more than 2,000 stores. Today, Starbucks has over 22,000 locations across the world and counting.
But the announcement that Chipotle hires former Starbucks CIO, Curt Garner, was a surprise to many people. The burrito chain has about 1,850 locations, while its mobile app is not very popular among users. For instance, on iTunes the restaurant chain’s app has 2.5 stars out of a maximum of five.
When surveyed why they do not like Chipotle’s app, customers had a wide range of complaints. Most of them said that the app lacks a user-friendly API, while other complained that they cannot properly customize larger orders.
Steve Ells, one of the restaurant chain’s chief executives, said that the company plans to change the way people perceive and eat fast food. For this purpose, the burrito chain plans to provide its customers with the best customer experience they can.
But to reach these goals, “the strategic use of technology” is essential, Ells added. He also said that Garner was valuable and “ideal” addition to the company’s management team because of his expertise and experience gained with Starbucks.
Garner will leave Starbucks in November and he will become Chipotle’s first chief information officer. The announcement that he would join Chipotle was made less than a week after his former employer unveiled former Adobe Systems CIO Gerri Martin-Flickinger as its first CTO.
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