Your local Starbucks may soon offer you something even stronger than a shot of caffeine. According to an article in Bloomberg, Starbucks plans to add alcoholic drinks to thousands of its stores over the next few years as another way to boost sales. They will be launching this initiative under the name “Starbucks Evenings.”
The company has already begun testing the Starbucks Evenings concept, and it hopes to expand it to 40 stores by the end of 2014. The results thus far indicate that the concept works, and it brings added sales to the stores during hours that aren’t normally as busy as other times of the day. The company realizes that the concept won’t work in all of its 11,000 retail outlets, but does hope to have it in thousands of its stores where it makes sense. The concept works better in urban areas where people are already out for the night, such as areas near theaters or restaurants.
In addition to serving beer and wine, the company will expand its food offerings for the stores where this plan is implemented. For example, in the Chicago test market where a number of stores have been serving alcohol since January 2012, you can get chicken skewers and truffle Mac & Cheese with your glass of Chardonnay. If that doesn’t whet your appetite, there is always chocolate fondue.
As you might imagine, stopping in to buy a beer or grab a glass of wine on a regular basis from a store where $5 cups of coffee are common won’t be a good way to save money or stick to your budget. That being said, it might be a way to save a bit of money on drinks while out on the town with a little ingenuity. A lot will depend on the pricing of the alcohol at the stores compared to other nearby establishments that also serve wine and beer. I can imagine opportunities to buy Starbucks gift cards on the secondary market at a discount. These are often available at a discount of 20% or more. If you’re able to get the gift cards at a good discount, that might make their evening offerings competitive with other establishments serving alcohol in the area.
Of course, by far the best way to save money would be to take the same actions that will save you a ton of money when it comes to buying coffee. Buy and make your own drinks at home. This won’t be possible in every circumstance, and it does take a bit more planning, but it will save you a ton of money over buying the same drinks at Starbucks or any other drinking establishment.