Starbucks Strikes Again

Starbucks always manages to surprise its loyal fanbase with new drinks, experiences, and concepts that drive visits. It finds ways to impress the already impressed and cater to every customer through a holistic approach that is constantly pushing boundaries. In 2019, Starbucks ended the year with pop-up parties, a massive new roastery and began 2020 with some exciting new menu additions. 

The impact? Let’s dive in to find out.

Windy City Roastery 

Back in November 2019, Starbucks unveiled its sixth roastery location on the prestigious Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago.  At 35,000 square feet and five floors, the roastery marks Starbucks’s largest location in the world.  

Since launching on November 15th, overall foot traffic has been solid. Saturday, November 23rd drew its largest crowd, when visits rose over 180% above the baseline average for the period from November 1st through December 31st, 2019. The holiday period was effective for the roastery, as the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year all brought visits that consistently remained over the baseline average. While traffic tends to slow down during the week, visits jump back up on the weekend, with Saturday being the highest-trafficked day thus far.  

More notable, though, is the size of the Roastery’s True Trade Area. While a significant amount of visits are coming from the Chicago area, nearly 50% of its customers are traveling more than 30 miles to experience the newest roastery. This speaks to the tourist appeal of the Roastery that has driven interest in the early weeks following the launch. 

While the roastery opened to massive crowds and glowing reviews, it is a completely different feel than your typical Starbucks. This immersive experience is already showing indications it could provide a draw for out-of-towners looking for a new and engaging coffee experience.

Pop-Up Parties 

But long term, large format stores weren’t the only changes Starbucks had on offer for its fleet in 2019. From December 27th, 2019 through the end of the year, Starbucks hosted numerous pop-up parties across the country where customers received a free espresso drink, no purchase necessary. Starbucks only released each pop-up location the morning of, therefore creating more intrigue and excitement surrounding each event. 

When we analyze two specific locations that hosted pop-ups in Minnesota and Ohio on December 27th, we see significant spikes in traffic at both locations. The Minnesota-based store experienced an increase in overall traffic year-over-year.  Visits for December 27th, 2019 skyrocketed to a massive 145% above the baseline average, which is nearly a 140% increase from 2018. 

Similarly, the Ohio store saw visits peak 72% above the baseline average for the period between December 2018 and December 2019, which is a tremendous bump from the previous year when the same day saw visits that were 46% below the baseline.  

With more than 1,000 participating locations across the country, it’s hard to analyze if the parties impacted nationwide traffic. But, early indications show that a mix of intrigue and value drove tremendous excitement.

Ditching the Dairy 

Starbucks kicked off 2020 with three new drinks to highlight its non-dairy menu. On January 7th, the Almondmilk Honey Flat White Latte, Coconutmilk Latte, and Oatmilk Honey Latte were added to the lineup for those wanting to ditch the dairy. The Oatmilk Latte is currently only offered in select locations around the Midwest, while the other two were rolled out nationwide. 

Although we don’t see a huge spike in visits when we analyze the launch day, it’s too early to tell whether these drinks will make an impact on traffic. But, the commitment of Starbucks to continue pushing new products and concepts will only serve to strengthen visits over time. 

How much of an impact might these concepts have on visits? Stop by Placer.ai to find out.

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