From Cappuccinos to Chiantis

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Posted: July 10, 2014, 1:20 p.m.
by Addison Viani.

Since 2012, Starbucks has been testing the waters in select locations with the addition of beer and wine on its menu. The new menu, called Starbucks Evenings, includes alcoholic beverages, as well as small plates and desserts.

Photo courtesy of Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com.
Photo courtesy of Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com.

These small plates consist of items such as parmesan-crusted chicken skewers with honey-dijon sauce, bacon-wrapped dates with balsamic glaze, truffle mac & cheese, or chicken and roasted tomato flatbread, to name a few.

The coffee powerhouse recently announced that it plans on expanding the Starbucks Evenings menu to several thousand stores within the next few years. The added menu has seen a positive reception from customers within the select 40 alchohol-stocked locations.

The food and beverage industry is competitive and complex. Starbucks wants to be on top and not just during the morning hours. Starbucks is part of many morning commuters’ routines, but not so much for the after-work commuters. The company wants the afternoon/evening numbers to be just as high as the early morning rush.

Stopping by Starbucks once a day just simply isn’t enough. In order to become the new happy hour hotspot, Starbucks had to do major marketing toward its loyal, coffee-loving consumers. The website is doing a favorable job promoting the Starbucks Evenings menu.

The site not only informs customers about the newly added items, but also goes into detail about the new experience and evening atmosphere. Starbucks is putting extra emphasis on the experience to communicate to customers that the environment will be “calm and mellow.”

The website paints a nice picture: “The place you love during the day now has more reasons to love it at night. Say hello to a new way to enjoy Starbucks after 4 p.m. Drop in after work, with friends, after yoga, by yourself, after a long day or after a great day. The food is amazing. The wine selection is simple and smart. The chairs are just as comfortable as they are in the morning.”

As wonderful as it sounds, any dramatic change within a well-established chain will involve high risk. The risk here is the loss of a customer base that does not feel comfortable in an environment that serves alcohol. That seems to be a risk Starbucks is willing to take, especially to make a larger profit.

According to USA Today, “CEO Howard Schultz noted that the typical Starbucks customer spends about $5 per visit. A glass of beer or wine can instantly double that figure. ‘We are in the early stages of our growth and development,’ Schultz said. ‘If we’re a 20-chapter book, we are only in chapter four or five.’”

No matter what chapter, this book will definitely be read. Starbucks has been extremely successful, and this innovative addition of Starbucks Evenings will only add to its success.

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