Starbucks goes more upscale with London's Reserve Bar

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) has opened its second Reserve Bar location as the coffee chain continues to refine efforts to meet a more refined customer's demand for craft beverages, upscale atmosphere and food items. It's also packed with the latest in-store technology.

The store near London's Leicester Square has a digital ordering system, wireless phone charging, and special coffee blends and brewing methods. Payments can be made through the mobile app and the store accommodates Starbucks new Mobile & Pay.

There's also an expanded morning menu and new coffee brewing methods. A "coffee master" meets patrons at the door, explains the concept and procedure, and takes their order on a mobile device, according to Econsultancy's David Moth.

The first Reserve Roastery and Tasting room opened in 2014 near the company's Seattle home base. This second location, now called Reserve, is well situated in an affluent area of London. The concept is developed for upscale markets and Starbucks is using the format to showcase its coffee credentials.

Starbucks has been developing new food items to grow sales in the evenings, even offering wine and beer after 4 p.m. The London Reserve Bar sells local craft beer and wine from the company's home state of Washington. There are also shared plates of homestyle foods and an expanded breakfast menu.

IGD RetailAnalysis recently visited the location, and while the concept is clearly a work in progress, it does help move the chain forward in its bid to grow visits and sales of food items: "Though not moving completely into brand new territory, there's much that stretches the boundaries of what we know about Starbucks, and builds on the recent moves of others in this part of the market, including Pret a Manger, which recently began offering evening meals at one London outlet. Indeed, there may well be elements from this store that can be extended to other outlets."

For more:
-See this IGD RetailAnalysis report
-See this Econsultancy blog post

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