New Chicago area stores to feature upscale menu, spirits and live entertainment.
Starbucks plans to open up to seven stores featuring beer and wine in addition to coffee in the Chicago area by the end of 2012, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The Seattle-based coffee giant has been testing a more community-oriented store concept to improve evening traffic to its stores for more than 24 months.
The new stores are set to provide high-quality small plate options like cured meats over the usual pastry offerings you’d normally find at a Starbucks, and beer and wine will join the menu of coffee and tea. Live entertainment could also become a fixture, as the chain has been experimenting with poetry readings, bands and live theatre depending on the neighborhood.
Already Starbucks operates five such stores in the Seattle area and one in Portland, Ore., but the new Chicago stores will mark the first of their kind outside the Pacific Northwest.
“We’re really trying to expand the evening daypart,” said Starbucks spokesman Alan Hilowitz told the Chicago Tribune. “Customers have told us they want to be able to come in and have coffee, or a glass of wine.”
Starbucks is committed to expanding its local store base and remodeling stores, Hilowitz added. During the fiscal year ended in October, the chain remodeled 40 area stores. By the end of October 2012, Starbucks plans to open six to 10 new stores, and remodel another 100.