LOS ANGELES (YBH) – With 16,000 stores in 50 countries, the Starbucks coffee chain can be said to have expanded and then some since the one store opened in Seattle in 1971. But with their morning business getting affected by cheaply priced premium coffee drinks at Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s, new products have got to hit the menu. So how about beer and wine? The corporate tagline for the experiment is “See what happens later”.
The chain operates a test lab site in Seattle’s trendy, urban Capitol Hill neighborhood, so that’s where the after 4 p.m. menu is rolling out, with wines by the glass or bottle, higher end beers, and a small snack and dining menu. Local ingredients, not to mention a cheese plate served on real dishware, are a feature of the nighttime offerings. The corporation is also touting the location as absolutely cutting edge in terms of being a green building, constructed out of re-claimed and local materials, and incorporating the latest in energy-reducing technology. A recent press release noted it “is one of 20 other Starbucks locations that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, requirements”.
Various bloggers have lamented the need to “have a good hair day” when popping in to Starbucks in the evening, possibly facing a phalanx of guys drinking and hoping to get lucky. Starbucks as a pick-up joint versus a perk-up joint? Hmmm. And here we thought Starbucks by night was just for laptop-toting bloggers, would-be screenwriters and book clubs.
If the re-branding experiment works, watch for bigger cities like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles to roll out the new offerings.