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Starbucks Canada jumps on the beer, wine and tapas train

In a bid to fuel its growth and get more customers, popular coffee chain Starbucks will expand its evening alcohol and light bites menu, which includes bacon-wrapped dates and Malbec wine, to thousands of stores, Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead told Bloomberg. The rollout, which can help boost sales, is expected to take several years. “We’ve tested it long enough in enough markets — this is a program that works. As we bring the evening program to stores, there’s a meaningful increase in sales during that time of the day.” – Troy Alstead. The company, which announced a long-term plan to almost double its market value to $100 billion yesterday, also is expanding and improving its rewards program and mobile applications. Earlier this month, Starbucks said it would soon test a way for customers to order items ahead of time with their smartphones. Introducing alcohol and more items on its menu is just the next stage in Starbucks’ goal of getting customers to swing by not only in the morning, but at all times of the day. Starbucks has more than 20,100 locations worldwide, including about 11,500 in the U.S. Alcohol is currently being sold in 26 locations across the US, but it will ... The post [WOAH] Starbucks is selling alcohol now, and is serious about it. appeared first on Vulcan Post.

Starbucks is once again out to prove it is far more cultured and urbane than Tim Hortons and Second Cup.

In the endless coffee war, the Seattle-headquartered chain announced plans to add an evening menu of wine and beer with flatbread, olives and cheese to locations in Toronto and other big Canadian cities by the end of 2015.

“They have the loyalty of the customers in the morning and maybe in the afternoon but they’re trying to increase the loyalty to other part of the day and that requires different products,” James Rilett, Restaurants Canada’s Vice President of Ontario, tells Yahoo Canada Finance. “I think that’s what you’re seeing in the entire industry.”

In a sense, the tapas offering is the brand’s oh-so-sophisticated response to Tim Hortons concept store which hawked pints of coffee-flavoured beer and crepes and Second Cups’s unveiling of its take on the “café of the future” with a slow bar and a chemistry lab worth of indie coffeeshop-inspired brewing techniques.

“I think that industry is very competitive and all about loyalty and (trying to) lure customers from one to the other,” says Rilett. “The cafes in Europe have always had coffee and alcohol – you’re seeing that now here, the lines are being blurred.”

In an interview with the Toronto Star, Starbucks Canada president Rossann Williams said one of the major catalysts behind the fresh menu is to entice women – which make up 60 per cent of the brands clientele. It’ll give them a place to go and talk about how “over” the bar scene they are.

“If two young friends want to get together and not hit the bar scene but want somewhere they can talk then this is something people are looking for,” adds Rilett. “Starbucks is just trying to get into that market.”

The brand will also add express walk-up stores and drive-thrus made out of old shipping containers to the mix.

But coffee shops aren’t the only ones dipping their toes in the burgeoning fast casual movement. KFC added beer and healthier options to two KFC Fresh concept stores in Toronto and McDonalds has spent the past few years carving out a niche in the market with its McCafe.

The fast casual ethos is growing with consumers looking for quality food and interesting local offerings.

Six in 10 consumers consider themselves more food adventurous now than two years ago and around one-quarter of consumers say technology options are important features that factor into their decision to choose a restaurant, according to a report by the National Restaurant Association’s 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast.