Have you ever sat down at a coffee shop and thought, “You know, this place needs to serve booze.”
No? Well, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has. At last week's investor meeting in Seattle, the company announced that it will expand its fledgling "Starbucks Evenings" concept—which features beer, wine, and tapas-style small plates served after 4pm—to roughly 3,000 of its 11,900 U.S. locations.
According to Reuters, the move is part of the company’s larger effort to make its stores a destination, rather than a simple coffee pit stop. Currently, just 32 Starbucks stores offer the Evenings menu.
The announcement comes in the wake of a slight decline in holiday foot traffic at U.S. retail stores. As online shopping continues to carve out a larger share of consumer spending, stores like Starbucks are trying to provide shoppers with greater incentives to visit brick-and-mortar locations. The coffee chain told investors that it plans to rake in a breezy $1 billion in sales by expanding the Starbucks Evenings program.
Starbucks also revealed that it is working on a mobile app designed to streamline the ordering process and allow users to skip lines entirely. Chipotle, Panda Express, and a number of other restaurants have already launched similar services, to relatively tepid consumer response.
Mobile ordering or not, I’m not sure the offer of beer and wine will convince me to hang around a Starbucks any longer than is strictly necessary. Booze won’t get rid of the sound of Coldplay, espresso machines, and desperate typing. But hey, maybe now the chain will add some actual booze to its new Guinness-flavored latte.