(Updated with additional details and background information.)SEATTLE, Wash. ( TheStreet) -- The drink offerings at your local Starbucks ( SBUX - Get Report) may soon include beer and wine. Starbucks is looking to start selling regional wine and beer, and a selection of local cheeses served on China tableware.
The new store was designed to look like it had been a part of the neighborhood for years, with a "green" design and sustainability-minded décor. "It's the biggest undertaking of design of any retailer in the world," Arthur Rubinfeld, global development chief at Starbucks, told USA Today. All new Starbucks-owned stores will be LEED certified, approved by the internationally recognized green building certification system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. If the refurbished location proves successful, Starbucks could make moves to expand the updated concept to other Starbucks locations, according to the newspaper report. It could also help Starbucks tap into the afternoon and evening markets of store traffic, where a customer may come in for a $4 cup of coffee on the way to work in the morning, then stop back for a $9 glass of wine and a cheese plate on the way home. About 70% of all Starbucks business happens before 2 p.m.
Market testing of new café-style stores is not the only change to be implemented by Starbucks as of late. Reports last week showed that
Starbucks wants its baristas to prepare two drinks at a time at most, and to take more care in preparing each beverage, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The report also said baristas should steam milk for one drink at a time instead of a whole pitcher for multiple drinks, as well as rinse pitchers after each use, remain at the espresso bar at all times and use one espresso machine instead of two. A barista who works in a Starbucks location that has already put the new guidelines into practice told the Journal that working on a maximum of two drinks at a time has "doubled the amount of time it takes to make drinks in some cases," and that his customers now wait in longer lines. Another barista whose store has yet to employ the new rules told the newspaper he was concerned about his ability to keep up with the volume of customers if only making one beverage at a time. "While I'm blending a frappuccino, it doesn't make sense to stand there and wait for the blender to finish running, because I could be making an iced tea at the same time," he said.
-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Miriam Reimer. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/miriamsmarket. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com.
>>See our new stock quote page. Get more stock ideas and investing advice on our sister site, Stockpickr.com.