Starbucks leverages barista creativity to drive sales
Retailers are always looking for new ways to expand product variety and refresh selection. But Starbucks may be unique in looking behind the counter for new drink ideas — with its own baristas.
For its promotion, running from October 20 to October 23, Starbucks locations are featuring drinks thought up by baristas themselves, called “Barista Originals,” according to The Motley Fool. The drinks will be made only of ingredients normally available for use in-store, but beyond that there are no limitations to what the barista can put together.
Giving Starbucks baristas free reign to create drinks from their imagination gives official acknowledgement to the company’s “secret menu.” Social media has popularized the practice of ordering off-menu ingredient combinations at numerous chains, including Starbucks.
Secret menus can cause frustration for chain restaurant employees, though, as they are not always familiar with the concept and will sometimes refuse to make the items. However, with Starbucks in particular, baristas sometimes post images of their own dreamt-up concoctions — or of ones based on the requests of fellow users — on websites like Reddit.
While Starbucks has not confirmed if any of the Barista Originals will make it into regular rotation, it’s clear the company is looking to move beyond its familiar menu offerings. Starbucks recently debuted its first coffee-based cocktail. The Espresso Cloud IPA combines beer and espresso and is available in select locations, reports Self.
While Starbucks looks to its own people for ideas about what goes on the menu, other companies have recently gone off the beaten path in search of new product ideas.
IKEA, for instance, recently ran a promotion in which it asked young children to send in drawings of imaginary beings. Ten winners had their designs made into real-life plush toys that will appear in the bins at IKEA.
Target, in an effort to get new and interesting tech-forward products on the shelf, recently ran a startup accelerator. And Walmart has recently gone outside of traditional channels for product ideas with an Open Call pitch day for entrepreneurs.
- Starbucks Expands Its Drink Menu With Barista-Created Beverages – The Motley Fool
- Ikea Let’s Kids Design Its New Toys, And They’re Delightful – Fast Company
- Starbucks’ New Drink Is An Intriguing Coffee-Beer Mashup – Self
- Target wraps up its first tech accelerator program – RetailWire
- Did Walmart’s ‘Open Call’ discover a hit made in America? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is the “Barista Originals” promotion likely to push customers towards trying out new, more expensive beverages at Starbucks? Can other retailers and foodservice operators benefit from encouraging this type of on-the-clock artistry among their staff?