Starbucks, the overblown coffee shop that's made any number of business missteps over the past few years, is taking a close look at a bold new move: Serving wine and beer.
The chain closed a 10-year-old Seattle store for a three-month makeover, revamping it to accommodate the evening drinking crowd with dimmed lights and, generally, a non-Starbucksy design. According to USA Today, which got an "exclusive tour" of the new facility (and is therefore the envy of journalists the world over...or at least of those who'd like a cuppa right about now), "It will serve regional wine and beer. It offers an expansive plate of locally made cheeses - served on china....This is the calling card of independent java joints that have been eating and sipping away at Starbucks' evening business for decades. U.S. Starbucks stores get 70% of business before 2 p.m."
The article also notes that with the likes of Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds in the gourmet coffee sweepstakes -- only, you know, without the ridiculous prices and absurd "venti" lingo -- the decision by Starbucks to serve alcohol "ranks among the most striking moves Starbucks has made in decades."
Gosh yes. Also, according to the press-release-ready story: "When Starbucks sneezes, global pop culture feels the draft."
And this priceless exchange:
"A barista asks about the difference between selling a customer a glass of wine or a cup of coffee.
"'Just treat them like they're regular customers,'" a training manager responds."
It's that kind of marketing genius that will surely help the "Starbucks of the future" become a reality throughout the nation, the world -- and the universe!