Another Vice Served at Starbucks

20 Oct

(Illustration from Core77)

Starbucks is adding a new drug to revamp sales during non-coffee hours; alcohol. The Starbucks store in Seattle located on Olive Way is serving wine, beer and cheese. Arthur Rubinfeld, president of global development for Starbucks, states that the redesign will work with local artists to design a community atmosphere using recycled materials.

The reason for this change? Starbucks gets 70% of its business before 2:00 p.m. Starbucks also wants to create a brand that is friendlier, and more a part of the neighborhood.

Until now, the decor of Starbucks has been identifiable regardless of location. This unique, localized design has been tested out by Starbucks in two locations, but without the Starbucks name attached. I find this a very interesting tactic. Starbucks knows that the corporate identity that has become attached to their brand conflicts with their attempts to appear local and a part of the community.

Risks for this new Starbucks is that it doesn’t look like Starbucks, but it does have the name attached. Rubinfeld says that a ‘local’ redesign of a store can cost anywhere from $25,ooo to $400,000. Is this too much of a risk? Former marketing chief Scott Bedbury says, “Brands have to evolve or die,” he says. “It’s a tall order. But if anyone can pull it off, it will be Starbucks.”

If it is popular, the profits will be amazing. Starbucks was able to take a cup of coffee, add some milk, and charge $4. A $10 alcoholic drink would not be out of the ordinary for this company. I think that this concept has potential, but needs extensive research done based on the location. There was a Starbucks I used to go to in high school that had local artists perform on weekends and was open 24 hours a day. Although I went when I was 17, I know that alcohol at an event like this would be successful. Starbucks is also right to work on the atmosphere. Currently, it is not a drinking environment, and many customers would be bothered by drinking in a place that is made for work and productivity. What do you think? Will this be a successful tactic, and if so, how will Starbucks shift their brand identity include alcoholic beverages? Starbucks has lost a vast amount of coffee sales to Mcdonald’s. Do people prefer a dive bar for evening drinks as opposed to a corporation that strives to appear a part of local culture?


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