Starbucks is searching for a new vibe and they think they've found it. Their new aim is to look less like today's trendy coffee shop and more like a cafe that's been part of the neighborhood for decades.
In an experimental trial, the company refurbished a shop in Seattle's busy Capitol Hill area and stocked it with new offerings: beer, wine, and a selection of local cheeses. In addition to expanded choices for thirsty (or hungry) customers, the barista bar has been revamped, putting customers closer to the coffee.
According to a newspaper that got an exclusinve peek into the new store, Starbucks wants to remain "locally relevant" to maintain the personality of the shop, and it will continue to stay "green" by using reclaimed woods and other recycled materials. The new store will not scream Starbucks anymore, but rather foster a sense of togetherness by having 15-person "community tables".
All of these features are reminiscent of independent coffee shops, which have been Starbucks' feisty evening business competitors for decades. Starbucks gets most of its business before 2pm, and they're trying to change that by offering more choices. Not only can customers enjoy a morning cup of joe, but they can return later in the night to sip on a glass of wine in a different setting.
“It’s not just the wine. It’s the unwind,” one college professor who frequents the Seattle shop told a newspaper. He noted that the atmosphere is all part of the experience, adding that independent coffeehouses don’t have the deep pockets to pay for this kind of design upgrade.