Starbucks, a brand that has built its self on familiarity and consistency, is experimenting with LEED-certified drive- and walk-up stores without the usual storefront and décor. The plan is to evolve their coffee business into new territories that you would not expect, by expanding into neighborhoods that are not large enough or economically sound to support a traditional Starbucks storefront.
These modern modular Starbucks do not have leather chairs and electrical outlets for their customers to use. In fact, they are not intended for the customer to come in. Instead, these tiny shops are manufactured, personalized to fit in the surrounding area and dropped off by truck. At 500 square feet, these tiny shops have just enough space to squeeze in three to five employees along with all of the coffee making equipment necessary to execute a full Starbucks menu.
Will these eye-catching, “local” shops will take off? Hard to say. Starbucks has conditioned people against taking their coffee to go. Stay, work, zone out, be social (in person or digitally)…that’s part of the Starbucks experience. That’s part of why we pay the big StarBucks for coffee and tea. It looks like that price point won’t be changing for these “uninviting” structures in less affluent locations. Seems like a stretch and perhaps a bit unauthentic to the brand they’ve worked so hard to build. We’ll see. Howard Schultz seems to know a thing or two about marketing to coffee drinkers, but it’s not my cup of Starbucks.
~ Meredith Aman, Account Supervisor, The S3 Agency