A recent article on restaurant-hospitality.com notes that Starbucks is beginning to re-image their stores to make them more appealing to local communities. In other words, they will provide local atmospheric cues to their ambiance as well as introduce more local food items. The objective is of course to make the Starbucks brand more relevant in the local community and put the local coffee houses out of business in the process.
A new store in New Orleans has the look of a coffee merchant in the early 20th century. Local artists are providing murals and some furniture and fixtures as well. Seems like a good idea to me.
Starbucks stores in Asia have always looked much better than those in the USA and there have been many reasons for this. Asian customers like to sit and relax in the shops and can stay there for as long as 2-3 hours. Take away is not of much interest to this group. Prices are set high accordingly to include the sofa rentals. Compared to hotel lounges where they used to frequent, Starbucks coffee is actually cheap! Moreover, most Asian apartments are very cramped and people generally socialize outside the home and Starbucks is a good place to hang out. High school kids usually do the same but at McDonald’s or KFC.
It seem like a good strategy to me and most likely the first step before wine, beer and some light food is introduced at night to improve that day-part. Starbucks never sleeps and does not want its customers to do so either!