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Cabernet With Your Cappuccino? Changes Are Brewing At Starbucks

The Starbucks Evenings menu will also feature truffle mac and cheese.

Cabernet With Your Cappuccino? Changes Are Brewing At Starbucks
[Photo: Flickr user Umbria Lovers]

Starbucks is embarking on a fairly bold, full-bodied plan to jump-start its in-store experience, hoping to draw foot traffic back to its cafes in malls and other commercial centers as e-commerce takes bigger and bigger chunks away from brick-and-mortar shopping.

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The biggest step the company is taking is changing the menu and drink options to establish its outposts as meet-up destinations. More lunch options and “evening snacks” will be available, including a cheese plate, truffle mac and cheese, parmesan chicken skewers, and other appetizers.

Plus (and most notably), beer and wine. After experimenting in cafes in Seattle in 2010 and expanding to locations in and around Chicago two years later, the company is ready to take alcohol sales national. The move is aimed at the after-work happy hour crowd (booze will only be sold after 4 p.m.) who might otherwise go to a bar to or restaurant to unwind. The company sees a lot of potential in this program, which dubs the locations that will participate Starbucks Evenings. They predict it will bring in $4 billion in added revenue annually within five years.

For locations where foot traffic is already high, the company is rolling out a new mobile app, which Fast Company has already explored in depth. It will allow users to place and pay for orders—and then pick them up in cafes. A map shows wait times at nearby locations, steering users toward the best options for a quick caffeine fix while on the move. It’s currently being tested in Portland.

The last prong of the company’s new strategy was unveiled today with the first “Roastery” in Seattle, a 15,000-square-foot space that’s both factory and flagship store. Fast Company‘s own Mark Wilson recently got an exclusive tour of the Roastery and compared the facility to an interactive museum where visitors can lounge in a two-story library or talk shop with master grinders before getting a freshly roasted beverage.

Starbucks wants you to come to Starbucks in all its iterations—and drink whatever you like to drink. And hopefully they’ll be able to clean up any spilled-beer smell before you come in for your first coffee at 5 a.m.