Retail

Starbucks Says ‘Last Call For Alcohol’ At 400+ Locations

It’s last call for alcohol at Starbucks.

The Seattle-based company has announced that it will cease selling alcohol at the 400-plus U.S. stores it has been selling these type of beverages at since 2010.

More than seven years after the “Starbucks Evenings” program launched, Starbucks is generally halting the concept on Jan. 10. The original concept behind the program was to test and drive sales post-morning rush, while featuring items like wine, beer and specialty food, like bacon-wrapped dates. In 2014, the company announced that it had plans to sell alcohol at thousands of stores.

But that last call isn’t hard and fast. According to the company, Evenings may continue in nine remaining stores that currently host the program — some of them are overseas — and it may add alcohol options to its new Roastery shops.

Starbucks has had some other newsy updates recently that could change its model in 2017. The company announced plans to open 12,000 new cafes over the next five years, with about 5,000 of those being in China. That came soon after CEO Howard Schultz announced that he is stepping down to take on the role of executive chairman and make the global coffee chain even more upscale via a premium coffee line, Reserve, and the opening of 1,000 retail locations called Roasteries.

On top of that, the baristas are getting competition: Starbucks recently announced that it has the cogs churning on a new chatbot called My Starbucks Barista. Circumventing or enhancing (however you see it) the traditional barista interaction experience, the customer speaks into the phone and subsequently interacts with the barista chatbot through a bunch of follow-up questions.

Recently, analysts released a prediction of a sort of coffee changing of the guard, where longtime title holder McDonald’s could be displaced by Seattle-based coffee empire Starbucks. That said, some analysts say the Seattle company has some ways to go, with a market cap of around $80 billion to McDonald’s $98.7 billion.

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