July 22, 2009

Starbucks + Wine + Beer = Really?

At a time when Starbucks is losing business and countering attacks of being "out of touch" with its $4 cups of coffee, the powerhouse coffee shop chain is trying a new approach at three Seattle stores. It's changing their name, removing their logos, and even serving wine and beer.

As CBS News correspondent Bianca Solorzano reported on "The Early Show" Wednesday, the company's newest shop, set to open Friday, will be called 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea. The vibe will be more artsy, Solorzano explained. There will be live music, poetry readings and alcohol options of wine and beer. But could the new strategy backfire?

R.J. Hottovy, an analyst at investment research firm Morningstar, said, "I think it is a little bit of a risky move, especially if they were to do this on a large scale." In March, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz acknowledged the company needed to adjust its approach in a down economy.

On "The Early Show", Schultz said, "This is a time when every business can no longer embrace the status quo, and (must) do everything they can to get as close as possible to the customer." Starbucks says it may expand the new approach to other cities if it succeeds in Seattle. Solorzano pointed out there's no word yet on how much a venti Chardonnay might set you back!

(Story pulled from CBS News )


WinoBee said...

I'm sort of torn on this - in one way, its a great way to extend Starbucks' "Home away from Home" vibe. They are all about bringing culture into people's lives via vehicles like music, poetry, and good beverages - why not extend to wine? My apprehension is why go to Starbucks to do this when I can go to a cute wine bar that offers just the same in a more unique/niche enviornment.