Starbucks just threw out a strategy it spend 40 years perfecting and it’s totally brilliant


For 40 years, Starbucks has built a business on the premise that it could be the “third place” for its customers.

While Starbucks didn’t invent the concept, Howard Shultz, the former CEO, was heavily influenced by the idea and set out to create an experience for customers that was about more than just a cup of coffee.

Shultz was heavily influenced by espresso bars in Italy, and the way they became a gathering place for people. For Starbucks, the idea was that you spend most of your time at home or work, but Starbucks would be the third location you spend time working, studying, or just hanging out with your friends.

Starbucks was largely successful. Its coffee shops were designed to be inviting and encouraged customers to linger. The design style was copied by everything from its competitors to schools, churches, and other businesses.

Now, after being battered by the effects of the pandemic, Starbucks is trying out another idea.

Our identity as communities of faith is not ultimately defined by an inability to physically gather.

NZ Catholic Bishops

On Thursday, Starbucks opened a concept store in partnership with Amazon’s cashier-less Amazon Go markets.

The location, in midtown Manhattan, is designed for customers to pick up mobile orders. Starbucks says it will open at least two more locations (also in New York City) in the next year.

It also features an Amazon Go market, which uses cameras and shelf sensors to keep track of what customers put in their cart and charges them automatically when they leave.

We must continue to create multiple alternative opportunities to prayerfully and spiritually connect and show care.

NZ Catholic Bishops

Amazon has already opened eight such locations in Manhattan.

While the concept store does include seating, there’s something very different about a store where you can order and pick up a drink without ever interacting with a person–especially when that’s by design.

It’s as if Starbucks has decided that instead of trying to be the place you go to spend time, it now wants to be the place you go on your way to wherever it is you spend time.

Unmute yourself.


Consider the outrageous.


How would you like the Church to be?


Do parishes as currently structured suit our purposes?

Bishop Pat Dunn

To be fair, that’s less of a repudiation of its earlier strategy and more an acknowledgement that the way people spend their time has changed–especially during the pandemic.

It’s also a bet that things aren’t likely to go back to whatever normal looked like before March of 2020.

Last year, Starbucks said it would close 400 locations.

People are–for obvious reasons–spending less time sitting in coffee shops.

Still, that doesn’t mean they don’t want a latte or a cup of coffee. Continue reading

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