Starbucks coffee

Starbucks (SBUX - Get Report) is testing a store concept at its Seattle headquarters that will be strictly for mobile order and pay customers, the company said in a letter to employees first obtained by TheStreet.

The store opens next week on the eighth floor of the company's main building, and it will be open to Starbucks employees and visitors only.

A company spokeswoman told TheStreet that Starbucks is hoping this new concept will alleviate the traffic congestion building up at its stores due to the influx of mobile orders mixed with on-site ordering.

She said the mobile order and pay store will feature only counter space with a barista tending to customers' mobile orders. If Starbucks employees want to take the time to sit down or purchase other over-the-counter items in the store such as one of its boxed lunches, they can go to the neighboring store on the eighth floor of its Seattle headquarters.

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"People are using [mobile pay] at different times of the day," the spokeswoman said, explaining that at peak lunch times the mobile order and pay store will likely receive less traffic.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz promised to find a solution to the store congestion issue in February, saying, "We are now laser-focused on fixing this problem. But the nature of it, too much demand, is an operational challenge we have solved before, and I can assure you we will solve again."

Mobile orders represented at least 20% of Starbucks sales during peak traffic times at about 1,200 stores in the most recent quarter reported in January. That was up significantly from roughly 13% a year ago.

Editor's Pick: Originally published March 30.