Starbucks – it’s not just for breakfast


Your favorite local coffee shop may soon be serving more than mochas and lattes. On January 23rd Starbucks announced that it is expanding its concept of serving wine, beer, and premium food offerings in a number of different markets in the U.S. Yes – you read this right – Starbucks will soon be selling alcohol in the evenings, thus expanding how and when customers can visit the stores. In the evenings for a more relaxing beverage, hold the caffeine please.

Starbucks has been a favorite destination for coffee lovers for several decades now. But once the day light is gone, the visits decline. Thus, more customers will likely visit Starbucks in the evening hours, or as they call it, “day parts.” This is the quiet time for the stores; the morning rush is over and the afternoon business slows down. Serving wine and beer in the afternoons will increase store traffic for drinks and food.

The company has been quietly testing the new concept in selected locations in Pacific Northwest area. This month’s announcement will expand the new concept to stores in Chicago, Atlanta, and southern California.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by asking students where they get their caffeine from during the day. The usual answers (depending on geography) will cover Starbucks, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, Caribou, and other cafes.
  2. Ask what times of day they visit the coffee shops. Why only during those times? What would incent them to visit these shops in the late afternoon or early evening hours?
  3. Have students visit the Starbucks Web site at
    • See if they can find information about the new product offering. (Hint: It’s hard to find; go to the news announcement section to find the information.)
    • Why is Starbucks staying relatively quiet about the new product introduction?
    • What market segments will the company attract?
    • Who will likely compete with the new offerings?
    • Does this enhance or hurt the Starbucks brand?
    • What will the company need to do to drive store traffic for the new products?

(Sources: Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age,, Business Week, New York Times)

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