In the scale of things, having 43 kiosks inside supermarkets shut down is probably not one of the bigger pieces of bad news that Starbucks has had to deal with in recent years, but it's still not a positive.
Stop & Shop and Giant Food have decided to shut down just under half of the Starbucks' kiosks in the respective chains' stores. The closures, which began last month and will be completed by mid-September, will affect kiosks in 26 Stop & Shops and 17 Giant locations.
"It was a business decision we arrived at with Starbucks," Faith Weiner, a spokesperson for Stop & Shop, told The Patriot Ledger. "We did a business review together, and we decided these kiosks were not performing at levels that were acceptable and would allow them to continue to operate."
After the closures, Starbucks will have 56 kiosks in Stop & Shop and Giant stores. Five others are expected to open before year's end.
Employees manning the kiosks worked for the supermarket chains and will be offered other jobs with the companies.
The chains are looking to replace the kiosks in some instances. A number of Dunkin' Donuts will spring up in Stop & Shop stores when Starbucks moves out. Ironically, Starbucks replaced many Dunkin' Donuts when the kiosk deal was first signed with Stop & Shop in 2006. Van Houtte coffee kiosks and others with Green Mountain coffee will also open in Giant and Stop & Shop stores that previously served Starbucks.
"We know that customers do like to have coffee when they shop," Ms. Weiner told The Patriot Ledger. "It’s a nice convenience. We continue to try to figure out what the best way is to offer that option to customers."
Discussion Questions: Are coffee shops or kiosks in stores as big a deal as they were a few years back when Starbucks and other premium coffee brands were at the peak of popularity? Is the failure of the Starbucks kiosks more about the coffee retailer and its product or the chains where the kiosks were located?
How important are coffee shops or kiosks to creating the type of customer experience that supermarkets and other big box stores are looking to create?