With Starbucks’ neighborhood coffee shop pilot project set to open next week, there’s plenty of buzz about what to expect from the new store. The new location is supposedly going to deliver more of an independent coffee shop vibe and will also be serving beer and wine in an attempt to give customers a reason to stop by even after getting their caffeine fix for the day. The non-Starbucks Starbucks has gone as far as abandoning the Starbucks name in an attempt to distance itself from the more corporate feel of the traditional stores. Instead, it will be billing itself as 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea.
However, despite all the hype, we’re remaining highly skeptical when it comes to just how successful the new store is going to be. And, with that in mind, here are 5 reasons we don’t think 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea is going to work.
5) There Are Already Plenty of Independent Coffee Shops
The location is set to open in a neighborhood that already has an abundance of independent coffee shops. In order to siphon away clients from well established places like Victrola, Caffé Vita, and Fuel, they’ll have to do more than just mimic the qualities that made these places successful. Some of these customers are fiercely loyal, some are there specifically because they don’t care for Starbucks, and others see these places as a part of their daily routine. Any way you slice it, winning them over is going to be an uphill battle.
4) It’s Not Going to Be a Destination Bar
It’s nice to have beer as an option, but the reality is that most people who decide they want to go out in the evening for a beer are probably looking for a bar or a pub instead of a coffee shop. We’re guessing the neighboring bars Hopvine and Smith have very little to worry about, and even though it can’t really hurt to offer customers an opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine, we’re wondering how many people will really take them up on the offer.
3) It’s Too Hard to Replicate
Part of what made the Starbucks model so successful was its simplicity; no matter where you went a Starbucks was basically still the same exact thing you were already used to. However, the idea of tailoring the coffee shop to match the feel of the neighborhood requires a lot more work than just buying some property and throwing up another store. Even if the pilot store is successful, it doesn’t ensure the formula would work in any neighborhood other than the one they’re currently testing.
2) Lots of People Like The Traditional Stores
Same store sales are down, but that doesn’t mean people don’t still enjoy what Starbucks has to offer. Sure some people refuse to set foot in a Starbucks for fear of being instantly swayed into buying Jazz CDs and Thermoses for all their friends, but for many it’s still a part of their daily routine. Switching things up could cause many of its biggest fans to simply flock to the next “normal” location rather than embracing the change.
1) It’s Still a Starbucks
On the flip side of that coin, the people who hate Starbucks and what it stands for are still going to hate 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea. You know why? Because it’s still a Starbucks! People who despise Starbucks aren’t going to instantly fall in love with it just because it has a fancy new name and a different feel; to those people, it will still be a huge piece of corporate America waiting to be picked apart. Our guess is, if you already like Starbucks you’ll probably like the new store, but if you don’t, it’s not about to change any opinions.
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