Starbucks, the US coffee chain, is a recognised leader of digital technology in the restaurant industry and now it has formed a partnership with a tech start-up to create end-to-end, cloud-based software for other restaurant brands.

The Seattle-based company announced in a statement this week that it is granting Brightloom a licence to select elements of Starbucks’ proprietary digital flywheel software in return for an equity stake and a seat on its board of directors.

Brightloom, originally called eatsa, was founded in 2015 and became well-known in San Francisco and other major cities for operating a chain of high-tech, automated restaurants where customers could digitally pre-order food and then pick up their orders from cubby-holes without having to queue.

The company later turned itself into a full restaurant technology firm, offering digital solutions to other brands, such as mobile-ordering and payment, personalised marketing and loyalty programs.

According to Brightloom, which also secured $30m in a funding round led by Tao Capital Partners and Valor Equity Partners along with Starbuckss licensees, key components of Starbucks’ technology will be combined with its own.

Then, working with Starbucks’ global licence partners, the company will offer the platform to restaurants around the world.

Commenting on the initiative, Brightloom CEO Adam Brotman, who for many years was chief digital officer at Starbucks, said: “We are confident that the digital flywheel strategy is the best way for brands to enhance and build their customer relationships.

“The fact that we will now be combining our platform with the leading digital flywheel software in the world, Starbucks, perfectly positions us to offer the best-in-class solution to the industry,” he continued.

“We believe any restaurant brand should be able to engage customers digitally using a seamless combination of mobile, omni-channel ordering and loyalty offerings. Up until now, only a select few brands could afford, or knew how, to put together a truly seamless mobile ordering, loyalty and top-notch digital platform.

“Because our digital flywheel offering will be in the form of simple and affordable software as a service, it will truly level the playing field for all.”

Sourced from Starbucks, Brightloom; additional content by WARC staff