Starbucks and the Alcohol Experience

I just finished an interview to be released soon in QSR magazine.  The central question essentially was  “has leadership at Starbucks lost their collective minds to introduce alcohol as part of the Starbucks Experience in select markets for the afternoon/evening crowd?”

Unlike others who were interviewed for the article, I took the position that this effort is brilliance on the part of Starbucks for 3 reasons

1) the marketing buzz it generates,

2) the test market nature of the offering, and

3) the strategy leverages the “third place” experience to generate traffic at a slow time of the day for the brand.

Starbucks “owns the morning” when it comes to creating a place where people can have a conversation over a beverage. Why not do the same with the afternoon/evening crowd simply by switching the desired drink?

What do you think?  Too much of a stretch or a wise effort to test a product and possible re-position a brand?

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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