Starbucks Plans To Sell Mixed Drinks In Upscale Cafes Face Challenge From Within


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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson is scaling back the vision of his predecessor to revamp the coffee chain’s sales and expansion goals through opening hundreds of high-end coffee shops, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Starbucks founder and former CEO Howard Schultz envisioned opening 1,000 Starbucks Reserve cafés that would sell more-expensive coffee, cocktails and artisanal baked goods. Schultz also wanted to open 30 Roastery stores that would do everything a Reserve café would do as well as roast coffee. (RELATED: ‘Significant Milestone’: Starbucks Joins The Anti-Straw Craze)

Schultz stepped down as CEO in June 2017 to focus on building hundreds of upscale coffee shops around the globe and making them profitable. Johnson stepped into the CEO position in April and immediately set to reorganizing Schultz’s creation, according to WSJ.

Starbucks bought out Atlanta-based tea retailer Teavana in 2012. Johnson closed nearly 400 Teavana stores in malls because they were missing performance goals.

Johnson has taken a more piecemeal approach to expanding the coffee chain into larger and higher quality stores, testing about 10 Starbucks Reserve stores before building more.

The Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai, China. (Shutterstock/Inspired By Maps)

The Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai, China. (Shutterstock/Inspired By Maps)

“One thousand was an aspiration,” Johnson told WSJ. Johnson is seen as taking a more analytical approach to governing the global coffee chain than Schultz, who was known for making decisions based off intuition.

“The company is in great hands with Kevin,” Schultz told WSJ in an email. “Kevin and I speak often and he knows he has my complete support.”

While the company tests the viability of upscale coffee stores, it is also expanding into a coffee delivery service to bring drinks to customers. Starbucks is partnering with Uber Eats in 2019 to deliver products to homes and businesses.

Another change coming to the coffee chain in 2019 are content blockers on stores’ Wi-Fi that prevents customers from watching porn. Watching porn is already forbidden in Starbucks stores, but the policy may be difficult to enforce.

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