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Starbucks To Increase Locations That Serve Alcohol

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Your favorite barista could soon become your local bartender.

Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) announced that it's expanding the number of locations that sell alcohol. Currently, 26 of its locations have the “Evenings” program, and the company plans to increase that to 40 locations by the end of the year, according to a company spokesperson.

The average Starbucks transactions is $5 -- adding booze to the bill could significantly increase that. The company will offer beer and wine, but no cocktails. The stores won't provide restaurant-style service, either. Customers still have to order from a barista and wait for their names to be called.

Adding alcohol to its drink options won't change the calm, coffeehouse atmosphere, the company said on its website.

“Starbucks has always been a neighborhood spot where customers can take a moment to unwind and meet up with friends,” the spokesperson told Benzinga. “We designed the Evenings concept in response to feedback from customers, many of whom were looking for a new occasion to gather, relax and connect with others in the evenings over coffee, tea, small plates and wine.”

Related: Starbucks Introduces Tech To Its Coffee

The nighttime menu features artisan bites, including truffle macaroni and cheese, Parmesan-crusted chicken skewers and a couple of flatbreads. Wine selections vary by region, but Starbucks has menus for different locations available online.

“Our Starbucks sommelier hand-selected wines that are casual and sophisticated and meet local taste preferences in that market, so the menu may vary across stores,” the spokesperson said.

The regular food and beverage menu is available all day, but wine, beer and food from the Evenings menu is only available after 4 p.m.

Starbucks first launched the Evenings concept at a downtown Seattle store in 2010. Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead told Bloomberg that the company plans to increase the program to thousands of stores over the next several years.

“We've tested it long enough in markets -- this is a program that works,” Alstead said to Bloomberg. “As we bring the Evening program to stores, there's a meaningful increase in sales during that time of day.”

But don't fret, java-lovers. The heart of Starbucks is still coffee.

“In the true spirit of a traditional coffeehouse, while some stores may serve wine and beer, coffee will remain the focus of the experience,” the spokesperson said.

Starbucks Evenings already exists at several locations in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Portland and Washington D.C.

The company announced at its annual shareholder meeting that it earned $2.5 billion in net operating income in fiscal year 2013, a 23 percent increase from the previous year.

Posted-In: Bloomberg comments Starbucks Evenings Troy AlsteadNews Retail Sales General Best of Benzinga

 

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