Starbucks has decided to end their Evenings program and will be removing wine, beer, and food plates from their evening menus at over 400 stores, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune. As of January 10, 2017, the program will be brought to a close at 439 company-owned U.S. locations.
Starbucks had initially planned to expand Evenings to over a quarter of their stores.
The program was first conceived and tested in 2010 as a way for the coffee-drink giant to drive sales beyond the morning rush. Stores participating in Evenings began to offer a selection of wine, craft beer, and small plates of upscale foods like flatbreads, truffle mac & cheese, and bacon-wrapped dates in the late afternoon. It was first tested at Starbucks’ flagship location in downtown Seattle.
In 2014, they said that they were planning to expand the program to “thousands” of stores.
Instead, the plans to serve alcohol will be carried on at new high-end stores that Starbucks is planning to open. As the Washington Post reports, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is planning to step down from his position to focus on the new Starbucks Roasteries and Starbucks Reserve cafes. Starbucks plans to open 20 to 30 Roasteries globally and will be opening upscale Reserve cafes, double the size of a regular Starbucks, which will sell premium coffee (that is to say, more premium than Starbucks already bills themselves as serving).
The idea is to create a Starbucks store that is an experience and a destination in itself, not just a coffee shop; they’re hoping to grab a piece of the pie from other foodie “experiences” that consumers spend time and money on. To that end, the Roasteries and Reserves will serve a full line of pastries and breads baked fresh on-site by a dedicated team. The coffee drinks, made with Starbucks’ premium Reserve brand, will run to $10 for a single drink. And many, if not all, will feature a full bar, taking over Starbucks’ alcohol-serving forays from the Evenings program. According to Schultz, they have “a lot more theater, a lot more romance.”
“In a world where people are spending much more time on their phones, on their desktop, on their iPad, people are longing for more human connection.”
“There’s no issue in the core business. We’re merchants. We have to be creative, we have to be innovative.”
Starbucks plans to have six Roasteries open by the end of 2019 and to add “Reserve Bars” to 20 percent of its existing 12,000 locations in the United States. Which isn’t to say that Starbucks will be neglecting their core business; the company also plans to open another 12,000 locations worldwide by 2021, with over half in their largest markets in America and China, and went to pains to ensure investors that the new concepts didn’t suggest a lot of confidence in Starbucks’ core brand.
Starbucks also intends to move ahead with opening Princi stores in the U.S. Princi is a high-class Italian bakery serving up artisanal pizzas and breads, and Starbucks recently concluded a deal to bring them to America. As part of that deal, many of their signature baked goods, including foccacias, will be served at Starbucks locations.
In the long run, by opening new markets and expanding existing upper-class markets, Starbucks intends to deliver a 10 percent growth in revenue and a 15 to 20 percent grown in earnings-per-share – a goal that they didn’t feel was being served well by the Evenings program. They are also planning to bring their U.S. food sales up to 25 percent from 20.
Meanwhile, according to Starbucks, Evenings may continue at some of the few licensed stores to carry it, including nine locations overseas.
[Featured Image by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Mark West Wines]