Starbucks Changes Direction with Big Drive-Thru Plans Daily Finance

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Starbucks Changes Direction with Big Drive-Thru Plans Daily Finance By Rick Aristotle Munarriz, 30 January 2013 | AOL Original Posted under: Starbucks, Food & Beverage NaN

Let's say you want a Macchiato without having to step out of your Mustang. Or perhaps you want a Java Chip Frappuccino, but don't want to find a parking spot for your your Fiat. Well, Starbucks (SBUX) has you covered. One of the bolder initiatives announced during last week's quarterly conference call was that 60 percent of the 1,500 new stateside locations that the barista-tended chain plans to open through the next five years will have drive-thru windows. It's a big departure from the Starbucks concept that most of its customers currently experience, but the company's been seeing strong sales at the handful of stores that already offer drive-thrus. So it's plans its expansion with an eye toward cashing in on hurried drivers.

Brews Over Burgers Would Starbucks be aggressively pursuing drive-thru locations if McDonald's (MCD) -- and now even Burger King (BKW) -- hadn't beefed up their coffee offerings? Mickey D's introduced McCafe drinks five years ago, allowing diners to opt for lattes or iced caramel mocha brewed drinks to go with their Big Macs and fries. Other fast food chains have been following suit. Starbucks hasn't missed a beat, despite the burger flippers pushing into its bean business. Beyond a brief stretch early in the recent recession, comparable-store sales have remained largely positive at Starbucks. However, as rushed morning commuters grow accustomed to being able to grab a caramel hot chocolate or premium roast coffee without having to leave their cars, Starbucks knows it doesn't want to be left behind -- even if means becoming something that it's not. Redefining Coffee Culture Starbucks prides itself on its cozy confines. The aromatic scents of freshly brewed java are so important that the chain scrapped several breakfast items a few years ago after they were making...
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