Coffee giant Starbucks is investing in personalization, delivery, and drive-thrus, as it heads into the holiday season and 2019.

Meanwhile, the retailer’s top priority of late has been enhancing the in-store experience. In Q3, Starbucks set a target to cut up to 50% of current in-store administrative tasks by the end of fiscal year 2019, hoping the move could help gain “up to two to three hours daily” for associates to focus on customer connections.

“We haven’t always made it easy for our partners to focus on their customers and truly lead in the moment,” said Starbucks’ COO Rosalind G. Brewer. “Complex tasks and unclear expectations often get in the way. This is the key reason we continue to focus on driving in-store improvements and tangible changes that put our customers first.”

Starbucks initiated automated inventory in 32 stores for all food products and rolled out training to build leadership to facilitate “creating best moments” in cafés.

Brewer reported Starbucks made “solid progress against this goal in Q4, redeploying up to one-and-a-half hours per day of noncustomer-facing tasks to customer-facing activity, depending on the store.”

The company initiated automated inventory in 32 stores for all food products and rolled out training to build leadership to facilitate “creating best moments” in cafés. Customer connection scores, which include ratings on cleanliness and speed of service, showed improvement across all dayparts and regions in Q4.

Now, as it enters the holiday season, Starbucks is focusing in on three things to drive the customer experience.

“Starbucks record Q4 performance reflected meaningful improvement in virtually every critical operating metric compared to Q3,” said Kevin Johnson, CEO. “As we enter fiscal 2019, we are executing against a clear growth agenda, with a focus on our long-term growth markets of the U.S. and China.”

A testament the shoppers’ desires for convenience, drive-thru, out-the-window and Mobile Order and Pay combined grew to more than 50% of the way Starbucks’ customers are ordering,…