Starbucks After Hours: Fine China, Local Cheese and (Surprise!) Beer and Wine

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Starbucks global development team is promoting “local relevance” (including locally sourced materials) and a corporate commitment to environmental responsibility, as outlined in the video above. The brand aims to achieve LEED certification for all new, company-owned stores worldwide beginning later this year.

One way it’s planning to get local (we’ll skip the dreaded “glocal”)? By adding local food (more savory nibbles than meals), craft beer and organic wine to the menu after work, dimming the lights and changing the ambience from bustling to relaxed in order to drive more business from 4pm on.[more]

USA Today got an exclusive look at Starbucks’ “after-hours” concept, now being tested at a hometown store in Seattle’s trendy Capitol Hill district as a possible future direction for the chain:

“A very different kind of Starbucks is on tap (here with) regional wine and beer. It offers an expansive plate of locally made cheeses — served on china. The barista bar is rebuilt to seat customers up close to the coffee. Most conspicuously, the place looks less like a Starbucks and more like a cafe that’s been part of the neighborhood for years — yet that’s ‘green’ in design and decor. This is the calling card of independent java joints that have been eating and sipping away at Starbucks’ evening business for decades. U.S. Starbucks stores get 70% of business before 2 p.m.”

If this location proves a hit and boosts off-peak hour sales, then a version of it will be rolled out across the chain. As USA Today notes,

“Starbucks, which turns 40 next year, is entering middle age with a keen desire to improve the way that its customers — and its stockholders — respond to the brand. For customers, the company wants to make the stores seem friendlier and more a part of the neighborhood. For stockholders, the company wants stores to be more profitable by targeting greater evening use. Even then, the company is aware of the footprint it leaves no matter what it does. The 16,000-unit chain ranks among the world’s most widely copied brands. When Starbucks sneezes, global pop culture feels the draft.”

Read the story for more on the “Starbucks After Hours” concept, and let us know what you think in the comments below.

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