What goes better with Starbucks — wine or tea? How about if the tea is by Oprah Winfrey? The correct answer, according to Howard Schultz and company, is both.
The coffee giant announced that it would expand its rollout of alcohol sales to thousands of locations over the next several years and that it had reached a deal with Ms. Winfrey to begin selling a line of tea under her name.
First the alcohol: Starbucks began testing sales in its home market of Seattle back in 2010. It later expanded the pilot to a small number of other locations in Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles. Now, the chain plans to add it to its after 4:00 p.m. menu at locations in urban areas and those near restaurants and theaters for people who are out on the town at night.
"We've tested it long enough in enough markets — this is a program that works," Troy Alstead, Starbucks COO, told Bloomberg News. "As we bring the evening program to stores, there's a meaningful increase in sales during that time of the day."
In the case of the collaboration with Ms. Winfrey, Teavana Oprah Chai Tea will begin selling in Starbucks and Teavana stores in the U.S. and Canada on April 29. Starbucks will make a donation for each product sold to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation to benefit educational opportunities for youth.
Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO of Starbucks, said the introduction of Oprah Chai will help his company "elevate the tea experience in the same way we did for coffee." He added, "I am personally humbled to work with such an inspirational leader and visionary who shares so many of our core values and beliefs. I truly believe that, together, we will set the bar for a world-class tea experience at Starbucks and Teavana."
Which is the bigger business initiative for Starbucks: alcohol sales or its collaboration with Oprah