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Is It OK To Wait At Starbucks?

A long wait is not the typical experience at Starbucks. But waiting is part of the journey at Starbucks’ newest Roastery on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. On a recent Friday – nearly three weeks after the Roastery opened – lattes were delivered six minutes after they were ordered. Experienced Starbucks customers attempted to skip the wait by ordering ahead with the Starbucks app – and were disappointed that the pick-up service is not available at the Roastery.

There are 31,000 Starbucks cafes in the world. The six Roasteries – including the 35,000 square foot Michigan Avenue location – are temples to coffee. And they may be the only Starbucks locations where the company intentionally serves its customers…. slowly. The wait stands in stark contrast to the Starbucks Pick-Up concept at Penn Station – the first-of-its kind Starbucks location designed solely for customers that are on-the-go in the New York transit hub. Both locations opened in November.

Who needs a 35,000 square feet coffee shop?

As a multi-billion-dollar retailer, Starbucks has the luxury of operating multiple formats to serve its customer. The Pick-Up may become standard in many locations where the customer wants to grab and go. But the Roasteries are the ultimate brand-building arm of the company’s physical location and concept strategy.

Charging a premium for a commodity product is impossible without developing an emotional relationship with the customer. For decades, Starbucks accomplished this feat with a friendly barista and trendy set-list. And as the smartphone took hold, Starbucks adeptly utilized the mobile app to create an order and pay system that combined European coffee café culture with convenience. The Roastery locations are intended to re-ignite the customer’s original emotional attachment to the Starbucks brand by building powerhouse cafés; the Chicago Roastery was described by the company as a “Love Letter to Chicago.” Based on the beauty of the Roastery locations and teeming crowds, the company seems to be succeeding.

Starbucks stores conveniently located near you. Credit: Google Maps

For customers that want the convenience of the mobile order and pay system – well, there are more than a few locations within an easy walk.

David Weiss

David Weiss

dweiss@mdretail.com

David is an accomplished retail executive bringing nearly 20 years of industry experience to each client project. David has worked for multi-billion dollar global companies, venture-funded start-ups and private-equity owned turnarounds. He is known for identifying opportunities, creating focus, and building cohesive business strategies.

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