Starbucks broadening menu at select stores

by Eric Schroeder
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SEATTLE — Starbucks Coffee Co. said it plans to offer wine, beer and premium food offerings at a handful of locations in Atlanta and Southern California by the end of 2012, expanding a program that has been in place at select locations in the Pacific Northwest since late 2010.

“Building an evening day-part is a natural progression for us as we are always looking for ways to evolve and enhance the Starbucks Experience based on what our customers are telling us,” said Clarice Turner, senior vice-president of U.S. Operations. “We’re pleased with the response of our customers to the introduction of wine, beer and premium food at several of our stores in the Pacific Northwest, and we’re excited to see how the idea translates to other markets.”

Currently, five stores in the Seattle area and one in Portland serve wine, beer and premium food. With the expansion, the concept will grow to five to seven locations in the Chicago area by the end of 2012, and four to six stores in both Atlanta and Southern California, also by the end of the year.

Starbucks said the enhanced menu will include premium food such as savory snacks, small plates and hot flatbreads, as well as wine and beer. The wine and beer list will be hand-selected to reflect local customer tastes and preferences, and it will be refined over time. Additionally, the stores will incorporate flexible seating to accommodate individuals and small groups as well as larger parties that want to host community meetings or other events such as book clubs.

“As our customers transition from work to home, many are looking for a warm and inviting place to unwind and connect with the people they care about,” Ms. Turner said. “At select stores where it is relevant for the neighborhood, we are focused on creating an atmosphere where our customers can relax with a friend, a small bite to eat and a cup of coffee or glass of wine.”

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