A couple months back, SBUX announced that they would be running a US pilot program, testing methods to bring consumer traffic into the retail locations during "non-peak" hours. The "method" is quite simple really -- serve local beer, local wine, and local organic snack platters from 4pm-11pm. All of this under the same roof that (love it or hate it) we all know well as our local (and global) coffee shop.
The "idea" is neither new, nor innovative. In fact, Starbucks has been serving light alcoholic beverages in most of their European and Japanese shops for years. Even further, while the original "idea" for Starbucks was based off of Shultz' love affair with the European Coffee Shop culture... this latest incarnation only brings it one step closer to the reality of that European staple -- over their, nearly all coffee shops double as snack bars during the lunch hours, and wine/beer bars in the evening.
My latest surprise was to hear of Starbucks entry into the Digital Media sector. Again... pure genius. Essentially, Starbucks has partnered with a number of top-tier publications (Wall Street Journal, New York TImes, USA Today), as well as Yahoo, in order to deliver standard and original content "FREE" through all of the Starbucks locations..... all with "FREE" WiFi internet. Download your local newspaper... download the latest book titles.... download music and movies.......... All while sipping your beverage of choice.
To be honest -- I'm not even a huge fan of their coffee. BUT, having grown up in their front yard of Seattle, and having that coffee culture deeply engrained in my heritage.... I might just pack my bags and move-in to the Starbucks down the street.
I work in Tech and Real Estate. I love both of them.