Wine at Starbucks! But is this really Starbucks?


starbuckscup.jpgIn a strange turn of events, Starbucks is testing a new coffee shop concept that looks nothing like Starbucks. The iconic green logo is nowhere to be seen and the cookie cutter globalized feel of Starbucks that we’re used doesn’t exist. Instead you have a homely, warm, cozy coffee shop that doesn’t just sell coffee but wine too! Now I wonder what Cafe Coffee Day or Barista think of that.

Starbucks continues to explore new business models and concepts at a time when its business is suffering. Starbucks had 16,7000 cafes as of the end of June with about 5,460 locations outside the US. The company gets about one-fifth of its revenue from its international locations with sales falling 2% in them over the last quarter compared to a 6% drop for its US locations.
On the India front, Starbucks has no immediate plans. In a Bloomberg interview Martin Coles, president of Starbucks Coffee International Inc., said recently said, “China clearly is a huge opportunity for us, today and into the foreseeable future.” He also said, “We certainly have aspirations to have operations in India, but this is not something that is on the front burner and about to happen.” This news is probably a relief for Barista and Coffee a Day though not so for consumers.
In terms of wine in the Starbucks outlets, this is a concept that they’re currently exploring. We have no word on what wines will sell, whether they will be available for sale throughout the course of the day and if every location will eventually sell the same wines. The pricing will per glass will probably be in the $5-$7 range. Could we see this happen in India? Not for a very long time (if at all!) but it is an interesting phenomenon and something worth watching as it could change the fortunes of both Starbucks and the wine makers involved.

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