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On Thursday, Starbucks released its regular quarterly financial results. Afterwards the company’s Chairman Howard Schultz announced, in the conference call held to discuss them, that the company would continue to diversify its offerings away from just coffees.
For some time Starbucks has had the goal of increasing the popularity of its locations to customers including, in some stores, even rolling out alcoholic drinks to attract more of an evening customer base.
Accordingly the company now plans to roll out a new “Fizzio” brand of handcrafted sodas to 3, 000 of its stores across the United States and in Asia during the summer months.
This is not at all the same, necessarily, as a rumored link up between Starbucks and Israeli company Sodastream, about which both Starbucks and Sodastream continue to decline any official comment.
Schultz described the new Fizzio drinks as, “all natural, preservative-free alternatives to sugar-filled sodas with the cachet of a custom handcrafted beverage that I am convinced will be a big hit with consumers and drive traffic and incrementally during the key afternoon daypart.”
Starbucks extensively tested Fizzio in selected locations during 2013, and will now launch the cold carbonated drinks in three initial flavours – ginger ale, spiced root beer and lemon ale. More flavours will be added later as well.
The new sodas, along with its Teavana teas, are expected to further broaden Starbucks customer appeal, as it also rolls out new lunch offerings this year – though specific items are still in test.
Starbucks is attacking the evening customer as well with its new evening program, where beer and wine will feature prominently along with more new food offerings. This programme should be available at more than 1, 000 locations across the United States within a year or two.
Starbucks hit the 20, 000th location mark during the quarter just finished, and now operates in 64 different countries, Schultz said during the call. Even so a number of markets remain significantly “under stored, ” in his opinion, including North America, China, Brazil and India.
Schultz also pointed out that the continued broadening of the Starbucks menu also implies additional locational requirements, in order to be positioned correctly to attract more of the evening class of customer.
This year the international coffee chain plans to open 1, 500 additional locations in 2014, including 600 in the Americas alone – both North and South.
Finally, Starbucks new Teavana Tea Bar concepts, now open in New York and Seattle, will be expanded to Chicago, Los Angeles, and more New York locations in the months ahead.
Coffee, tea, beer, wine, sodas, juices, breakfast, lunch and dinner – Starbucks clearly wants your business and is coming to a corner near you, if it isn’t already there, with healthy and interesting delections and confections to entice and delight you with.