To better compete with the Luckin Coffee chain of coffee houses, the American coffee giant was forced to develop a new outlet format.
If you've seen one Starbucks, then you've seen them all. Like many restaurant chains, the coffee giant only has a handful of outlet formats that don't vary too much. There are full-service retail spaces, kiosks, and express models without seating.
But times are changing, and to adapt to them, the chain is trying something a little different by opening the first location of the new Starbucks Now format in Beijing. In essence, this version of the cafe was designed with the needs of three different customer groups in mind: traditional chain customers; people who order and pay for coffee through the app; as well as delivery workers who enter the store to pick up orders.
In fact, Starbucks Now is an attempt by the company to correct a not-so-pleasant situation. The fact is that recently in China, she has a dangerous competitor in the face of the Luckin Coffee chain, which has built its model on digital orders through the application, fast service and delivery - there are no seats at all in its stores. In May of this year alone, the new network already owned 2,400 outlets throughout China. At the same time, Luckin Coffee has big plans for expansion, and not only within the country. Clearly, Starbucks Now is (at least in part) an attempt to counter the rise of a new competitor.
The fact is that current Starbucks were created even before ordering coffee through a mobile application became the norm. And this often leads to queues of people who just stopped by for a cup of aromatic drink and those who placed an order in the application hoping to get it faster. The Starbucks Now concept was designed to make it easier to place orders of any kind. The number of places in the store is limited, but it is mainly intended for customers who will receive orders and leave. The store also has a special area where delivery workers can pick up their orders.
The company says it plans to expand the Starbucks Now format to "high-traffic areas, including business and transportation hubs, and to all new cities in China." Whether the Starbucks Now format will appear in the US and other countries is still unknown.