A Glass of Wine at Starbucks?

by Eve Resnick on October 19, 2010

in General

Who ever dreamed of having a glass of wine at Starbucks in the evening? For a lot of coffee drinkers, Starbucks is THE brand symbolizing good coffee when a morning jolt is needed. Now after drinking lattes or cappucini all day consumers will be able to unwind with a glass of wine.

Dream? No. Reality  in Seattle for the historic store on Olive Way in Seattle’s bustling Capitol Hill area.  The store was closed for three and revamped according to the wishes of the customers: outdoor deck, indoor fireplace, sustainable furniture, expanded menus, as shown in this video. The $7 to $9 glass of wine can be served over an expensive cheese plate or some bisque soup.

The purpose of this striking move is to attract evening customers. 70% of Starbucks business happens before 2pm. It is less costly for the company to expand its business into wine and food in existing stores than to open specific locations dedicated to evening traffic. Consumers seemed rather agreeable to the idea of having a glass of wine at their favorite coffee place after work or after dinner.

What will such a move change for the brand? Some people are reluctant, such as Bryant Simon, a Temple University professor and author of Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks: “People don’t go to Starbucks to be cool or to show off. They go for a predictably good cup of coffee and a place that’s predictably clean and safe.”

But brand guru Scott Bedbury begs to differ: “Brands have to evolve or die,” he says. “It’s a tall order. But if anyone can pull it off, it will be Starbucks.” My question is about the consumers: are they ready to get their morning latte at Starbucks on their way to work and their relaxing glass of wine on their way back home? As a coffe and wine lover – and a big Starbucks fan – I just hope Bedbury is right!

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