Starbucks: Rebranding with Booze?

Coffee by day, booze by night… sounds like Starbucks has found a new recipe for success.

Starbucks, the largest coffee chain in the world, is expanding once again. Only this time, it’s not the new location that has people talking, it’s the adult beverages that are now featured on the menu.

Starbucks announced that one of its Seattle stores is reopening with a new menu that includes beer, wine, and an expanded food menu. A statement released by Starbucks explained that the decision to broaden its offerings is “in response to our customers telling us that they want more options for relaxing in our stores in the afternoon and evenings.”

With more than 16,000 stores to its name, Starbucks at one point dominated the coffee market, but lately cash-strapped consumers have traded in their $5 cups of coffee for cheaper alternatives.

Is booze the new cash cow for the coffee chain? Can Starbucks rebrand itself around beer and wine? Clearly, Starbucks is thinking of ways to win back their customers and make up lost revenue from declining coffee sales. Perhaps the new Seattle store represents what’s to become of all Starbucks stores.

Entrepreneurs and small businesses can learn key lessons from Starbucks’ decision to add booze to its menu. First, don’t be afraid to diversify your offerings…when your cash cow dries up- find a replacement. Second, listen to your audience, if there is something else you can offer to enhance the customer’s experience, add it to your menu. Third, don’t shrivel up and let your business die when customers choose your competitors over you…find a way to win your audience back. And lastly- never be afraid to take a risk— not everyone is going to support your decision to change your business model, but as long as you save your company, nothing else matters.

What do you think about Starbucks serving beer and wine? Is rebranding itself around booze the solution to win its customers back? Share your thoughts below.

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