What does giving up alcohol say about Starbucks?
Starbucks is reportedly putting an end to its “Evenings” program that brought beer and wine sales to more than 400 of its stores. This is not the first time the company has dropped a program or concept after concluding it wasn’t going to deliver the results needed, and it quite likely isn’t the last as the coffee giant shows a willingness to invest in new ideas and quickly move on if they do not work out.
The “Evenings” program initially began with a test in 2010 and climbed to 439 locations, according to a Seattle Times report. Starbucks was banking on alcoholic beverages and some meal changes on its menu to help increase traffic to its shops at night. In the end, however, the chain concluded it was better served adding new menu items to drive sales during lunch than going after business later in the day. The company plans to keep beer and wine on the menu of its high-end Reserve and Roastery stores.
Last year, Starbucks announced the closing of its Teavana tea bars, a sister concept to the brand’s namesake stores, when management concluded it could not achieve the same type of impact accomplished with its coffee shops.
In 2015, the company closed all of its La Boulange locations and converted them to Starbucks after the chain, which was acquired in 2012, failed to meet its goals.
Last month, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he would step back from the day-to-day activities of running the company to concentrate on developing its Reserve and Roastery concepts. Kevin Johnson, president and chief operating officer of Starbucks, will assume CEO duties in April.
- Starbucks takes wine, beer and food off evening menu at its regular stores – The Seattle Times
- Starbucks dumps tea bar concept, keeps tea – RetailWire
- Will Starbucks be the same without Howard Schultz as CEO? – RetailWire
- Starbucks looks to put life into nighttime business – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you make of Starbucks’ decision to end the sale of beer and wine in its namesake coffee shops across the U.S.? Do you see other ways the chain could increase its evening-hours business? Should the company’s failures be a matter of concern for stakeholders?