As a loyal patron and Starbucks shareholder for many years, I have to voice my displeasure at your latest endeavor, Starbucks Evenings. Frankly, I think the concept lacks merit for many reasons which I believe will significantly degrade the brand. I’m sure you remember the state of the business upon your premature return from retirement. Surprisingly, this time you are in the lead for this fateful journey.
I’m still not sure about the La Boulange failure, but am willing to attribute it to a difference of management styles. The Fizzio experiment has failed to gain traction. Both of these did little to contribute to your core customer’s experience. In fact both increased customer wait times and dissatisfaction. At my local Starbucks I’ve seen many customers walk into – and immediately walk out of without ordering – because of the lines which I fear will be exacerbated with Evenings. My issues are itemized as follows:
- Why would I pay a premium for a Starbucks craft beer? Wouldn’t I much prefer the craft brew at the local ice house?
- A beer and/or wine bar has a different atmosphere from a coffee shop. I would be less inclined to let my child buy a cake pop in an adult geared establishment.
- Few – if any – shops that I’ve visited have excess capacity. The remodeling is being performed (in most cases) with no additional seating capacity. What does that say about ambiance? Or if you prefer – can you say “cattle call”?
I can continue, but you get the drift. Starbucks has been successful being masterful in a select niche. Conversely, Starbucks has consistently failed when attempting to be all things to the masses.
I would encourage you to review your approach. Perhaps Starbucks branded bars in nightlife areas rather than bars in your neighborhood Starbucks. Is the pursuit of profits worth the costs of retrofits, licensing, compliance and alienation of a subset of your current clientele?