Starbucks has been known across the globe for serving delicious coffee and tea. But did you know that the world’s largest coffee chain is considering serving alcoholic beverages to its Canadian patrons? Yup, you heard it right. Starbucks said it is planning to serve wine and beer at some select Canadian locations by the end of the year.
Under the pilot programme called Starbucks Evenings, customers can have access to a menu of wine, beer, and small plates like olives, nuts, and cheese after 4pm. This initiative is reportedly part of Starbucks’ efforts to expand into other product offerings aside from coffee. However, a spokesperson for the coffee chain revealed that Starbucks Canada has yet to decide specific locations for the pilot programme.
Starbucks is no stranger to offering other beverages during its course of operation. Earlier this year, the coffee company has started serving alcohol in some US cities. One of its pilot cities was its hometown of Seattle.
With its move to serve alcoholic beverages, Starbucks is hoping that it can improve its foothold in the Canadian market, especially at a time when the number of Canadians eating out is predicted to remain flat over the next few years.
“In this environment, you really need to look at how you expand beyond your core offering to attract customers to your restaurants. This is a natural progression for Starbucks to expand into other areas,” said Robert Carter, executive director of food services at the NPD Group.
Carter added that Starbucks’ plans to add alcohol and a form of tapas to its menu will likely appeal to its customers and attract more people, especially during the evenings. This will further cement the company’s status as a leader in innovation in the drinks sector.
Meanwhile Rossann Williams, president of Starbucks Canada, is confident that the coffee chain’s pilot programme will attract female patrons, who make up 60% of Starbucks’ customers. She said she believe women will enjoy a drink with friends in a coffee shop, rather than in a bar.
She also revealed some plans of the company to further increase sales throughout the day, instead of just relying on customers rushing in for their early morning caffeine fix. According to Williams, Starbucks Canada is looking to create more drive-through locations and express walk-up stores with limited offerings across the country. She also shared that the company will launch a new bakery line called La Boulange in Canada on March 3.