For the best competition with Luckin Coffee, the American coffee giant had to develop a new form of the outlet.
If you have seen one Starbucks, you can assume that you have seen them all. Like many other restaurant chains, the coffee giant has only a few formats of outlets that are not too different. There are full-service shopping spaces, kiosks, and express models without seating.
But times are changing, and to adapt to them, the network is trying something slightly different, opening the first point of the new Starbucks Now format in Beijing. This version of the cafe was designed to meet the needs of three distinct customer groups: traditional online-customers; people who order and pay for coffee through an app; and delivery workers who go into the store to pick up orders.
Starbucks Now is an attempt by the company to fix the situation, which is not a very pleasant one. The fact is that recently in China, it has a dangerous competitor in the form of Luckin Coffee, which has built its model on digital orders through apps, quick service, and delivery - its stores have no seating space at all. Only in May this year, the new network already owned 2400 outlets across China. At the same time, Luckin Coffee has big plans for expansion, and not only within the country. Starbucks Now (at least in part) is an attempt to resist the growth of a new competitor.
The fact is that the current Starbucks was created even before ordering coffee via mobile application became the norm. And this often leads to queues of people who just came to drink a cup of aromatic drink and those who placed an order in the application to get it faster. The Starbucks Now concept was developed to make it easier to place orders of any type. The number of places in the store is limited, but it is mainly intended for customers who will receive orders and leave. There is also a particular area in the shop where delivery staff can pick up their orders.
The company says it plans to extend the Starbucks Now format to "high-traffic areas, including business and transport hubs, as well as to all new cities in China. Whether the Starbucks Now format will appear in the US and other countries is not yet known.