Starbucks expands menu by selling alcohol in more stores

Maggie Knors Contributor
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Starbucks will now sell alcohol and offer a light bite menu at thousands of select stores.

“We’ve tested it long enough in enough markets — this is a program that works,” Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead, told Bloomberg. “As we bring the evening program to stores, there’s a meaningful increase in sales during that time of the day.”

In an effort to boost sales, luxury items such as bacon-wrapped dates and Malbec wine will be offered.

Wednesday, Starbucks announced that it is working to reach $100 billion in market value. The company has expanded beyond coffee to juice, food and Teavana tea. Also, the company is improving the rewards program and mobile applications to better serve customers.

It hopes customers will soon be able to order ahead of time through their smartphones.

In October 2010, Starbucks began to sell alcohol at a Seattle store. Two years later, about 25 stores were added to the testing in locations such as Chicago and Southern California. Evening menus in Chicago offer everything from truffle macaroni and cheese to Chardonnay.

Alstead believes that the evening menu will be successful in urban areas where people are out and about for the night. He says that this menu will not appeal to all markets.

Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz gave Alstead control of daily tasks so he could focus on improving digital assets and customer loyalty, according to Bloomberg.

Fourteen percent of in-store transactions are being paid through mobile payments in the United States.

Peter Saleh, a New York-based analyst at Telsey Advisory Group, said that companies like Papa John’s, Domino’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts are realizing that digital platforms are important.

Starbucks’ loyalty program offers free beverages and refills linked through customers’ mobile accounts.

Last year, Starbucks purchased Teavana Holdings Inc. for about $626 million and plans to open tea bars in select urban areas.

To increase tea sales, an Oprah Winfrey-branded chai tea will hit stores April 29 in the U.S. and Canada. Proceeds of the product will benefit charities that support youth education.

“This felt like something that I really loved, that I really cared about,” Winfrey told Schultz.

Starbucks has 11,500 stores in the United States alone.