Starbucks introduced a new core espresso offering with the launch of the Flat White handcrafted espresso beverage, available at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada.
Soda sales aren’t exactly bubbling at restaurants these days. In fact, they’ve been declining for years. Despite that, there’s fizz remaining in carbonated beverages as operators look toward craft sodas, new technology, homemade beverages, and creative concoctions to put effervescence into their sparkling libations.
“We’re seeing a lot of craft soda products available in the market, although it’s still very small,” says Joe Pawlak, beverage expert and senior vice president at Chicago market research firm Technomic Inc.
As customers finalize their holiday shopping, Starbucks anticipates record purchases of Starbucks Cards on December 24, citing the trend for customers to push their gift card purchases later and later. Last year, more than 2 million Starbucks Cards were purchased in the U.S. and Canada on Christmas Eve, representing nearly 1,500 cards purchased per minute.
When news that more quick-serve and fast-casual restaurants were experimenting with alcohol beverage service emerged in the last decade, many operators and experts followed it with a skepticism chaser. Analysts warned that costly liquor licensing, regulatory details, and staffing issues were just a few hurdles that could offset any potential sales of a few stiff drinks.
It’s that time of year. Time to look back and reflect upon the brand developments in quick service from the past year—from the surprising to the exciting and the defining—that seemed most important. Innovation and growth are a couple of the common themes among the top fast-food brand stories of 2014.
Starbucks Coffee Company announced the opening of its first Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, nine blocks away from its original store in Pike Place Market.
In October, coffee giant Starbucks revised its employee appearance policy that marked some body adornments off limits. The news gave the industry a moment to consider the links between employee dress and branding and morale.
Starbucks baristas previously could not display any facial piercings or tattoos. “I think revisiting that policy is quite smart, because their brand is much more about creativity and free flow of ideas than their current strict appearance policy denotes,” says Leeann Leahy, president of The VIA Agency, a marketing consultancy.
Starbucks Coffee Company chairman, president, and chief executive officer Howard Schultz and other company leaders detailed Starbucks five-year strategic growth plan today at its biennial Investor Day, hosted at the company’s Support Center in Seattle for the first time in a decade.
With the holiday shopping season in full swing, Starbucks is offering customers the chance to gift themselves the ultimate prize: Starbucks for life.
From now through January 5, customers who pay using a Starbucks Card or their Starbucks mobile app, can enter the Starbucks “It’s a Wonderful Card Ultimate Giveaway” for a chance to win one of 482,000 instant prizes, and 10 customers in the U.S. will win the ultimate prize of Starbucks for life, which is one free food or beverage item from participating stores every day for the next 30 years.
It’s fair to say that 2014 has been as eventful a year for quick-service restaurants as the industry has seen in quite a while. Changing demographics and sharper competition have sparked a variety of innovations, but also exposed some weaknesses. And the unrelenting march of technology is changing the restaurant business landscape, particularly when it comes to mobile phones.