Attention: Starbucks Is Officially A Family Destination

According to an article in MSNMoney, Starbucks has admited that it’s a family destination and, while it won’t be marketing to children directly, it is exploring how to add more kid and teen friendly items to its menu—without causing health advocates to freak out.

Starbucks spokesman Brandon Borrman said there are still no plans to market specifically to children, and grown-ups need not worry that the Cartoon Network will be playing on the flat-panel screen of their neighborhood Starbucks anytime soon.

But Borrman said Seattle-based Starbucks is considering whether to add new drinks or drink sizes that better meet the needs of kids or teens.

“We need to be realistic about who comes into our stores, so if we have children who are coming into our stores that are on their own, we want to make sure that we have products that are appropriate to that age group,” Borrman said. “Do we have an alternative to a venti-size caffeinated beverage that would be more appropriate?”

Borrman said the company also now recognizes that it is a family destination. That means you might see an ad for the company that features a family — although you wouldn’t likely see a Starbucks ad with a child on his or her own.

“What we want to do is recognize the fact that there are people who are under the age of 18 who come into our stores,” he said.

The story also features a quote from the mother of a 4-year-old who “been a regular Starbucks customer since “he could hold a cup,” his mother says. Now when he passes a Starbucks he says, “I want to buy this tea.”

The kid gets a Chai latte twice a month. A 4-year-old that drinks tea should wear a suit and monocle, don’t you think?

Starbucks rethinks stance on young customers [MSNMoney]
(Photo:tammydmoon)

Comments

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  1. NoraL says:

    Big deal. How is a chai latte any different than giving a kid hot chocolate? He only gets it twice a month. Kids latch onto anything familiar. Give a toddler one McNugget and then every time you drive by the golden arches he’ll start freaking out.

    When I was a kid, my parents would take me with them every Saturday morning to the local diner to get coffee and I got hot chocolate with extra whipped cream. Fun bonding time. The only difference now is that it’s a chain and you pay ten times as much.

  2. kimsama says:

    Tee-hee, I giggle when I see “its” when it should be “it’s.” It’s like when people incorrectly use “he and I” instead of “him and me.” Cute!

  3. nidolke says:

    Another parent who needs her privileges revoked. Coffee stunts the little ones growth. Does she let him light up a ciggy every now and then too?

  4. Steel_Pelican says:

    @nidolke: There’s no coffee in a chai latte.

  5. Kifune says:

    I go to Starbucks all the time with my friends and their kids. There is plenty there now to drink that has no coffee in it at all, as well as the bottled juices, water, milk, etc. They are acknowledging what already happens.

  6. Trai_Dep says:

    I’d feel really bad about baby in the picture, but luckily, there’s a healthy dollop of Scotch in the cup to mellow the caffeine effects.

    Have to admit, though: when drinking my first cup of the morning, I clutch the cup exactly like that.

  7. dotyoureyes says:

    If a Starbucks Chai Latte is “tea,” I’m the king of france.

    Their Chai Lattes are tasty, no doubt, but they’re flavored sugar syrup in steamed milk. There’s no tea to be found. I’m sure the 4 year old loves it.

  8. morganlh85 says:

    lol That photo is hilarious.

  9. Anitra says:

    Starbucks has offered non-coffee drinks for a long time; I was drinking their tea & chai long before I became a coffee drinker. More recently, I’ve noticed them adding juices and non-coffee iced drinks.

    I go to Starbucks about once a week, and I often see parents with (young) kids. They usually buy them a juice-type drink, hot chocolate, or “steamed milk”. I think they’ve done a good job so far of being family-friendly without making kids a primary focus (you can still go there for an adult conversation, unlike most fast food chains that offer kids’ meals).

  10. morganlh85 says:

    @kimsama: But I punch a hole through the wall when I see “it’s” when it’s SUPPOSED to be “its.” That’s much more offensive for some reason.

  11. morganlh85 says:

    @dotyoureyes: Yes, your highness, it does in fact contain tea in a concentrate.

  12. FreakyStyley says:

    @nidolke: No, it doesn’t stunt growth.

  13. Craig says:

    Starbucks is Officially a Family Destination

    Yep, it’s right up there with Wally World for me.

  14. factotum says:

    One only has to do a simple search on SB barista sites for horror stories of oblivious parents letting their brats roam free. Thankfully, there are still Peet’s and independent coffee shops that don’t cater to everyone under the sun and still provide a bit of respite for adult caffeine addicts.

  15. ekthesy says:

    Disgusting. I live in the quintessential suburban soccer-moms-with-huge-SUVs-and-five-kids town, and we have a Starbucks that does BIG BIG business. It’s been there for at least a decade…it was one of the first in New Jersey.

    The moms go in for their coffee dragging their kids along, the kids whine for something, Mom buys them a Frappucino–one of the few drinks they delude themselves into thinking are OK for kids. So the mom walks out with a coffee, each kid walks out sucking down 900 calories worth of whipped cream and sugared whole milk. I see kids walking around with Frappucinos literally every day…and these aren’t teenagers, these are kids 6 to 10 years old with their parents.

    Starbucks is very rapidly climbing the Bad Corporation ladder. They’re right up there with the airlines as far as I’m concerned.

    But the real blame goes to the parents. This society is very rapidly crumbling because parents want to be their child’s best friend instead of making responsible choices on their behalf.

  16. Craig says:

    @EKTHESY:

    But the real blame goes to the parents. This society is very rapidly crumbling because parents want to be their child’s best friend instead of making responsible choices on their behalf.

    Amen to that. (Said as a parent.)

  17. InThrees says:

    I’m probably one of the few Americans left who can say “I’ve never purchased anything in a Starbucks.”

    That said, Cartoon Network would be an incentive for me. =p

  18. extracrispy says:

    How ’bout BANNING kids from Starbucks? Now that would be something worth marketing.

  19. ribex says:

    If it’s accepted that kids are going with parents to Starbucks, and that this trend is unlikely to stop, then it seems that Starbucks would be prudent to add menu items that are child-nutrition-friendly.

    Not a whole new menu board… More along the lines of the steamed milk idea. Cold or steamed low-fat milk with LOW SUGAR flavorings like cinnamon, vanilla, natural fruit. Flavored water (think Glaceau…not the vitamin water, the other stuff) without sugar, while overpriced, would be fine for kids to consume. I’m guessing that the contents of the cup might not be the primary reason why kids ask for something at Starbucks, but rather because they see Mommy has a cup and they want something too. (But I am not a parent.)

    I think it would be a mistake, though, if they were to add cups targeted for children, by which I mean designs, not size.

  20. jamesdenver says:

    @ekthesy:

    Agree. I didn’t set foot in a coffee shop until I was 17 or 18.

    I frequent my local coffee shops, and my mindset is that coffee shops should be an adult environment. Take kids can go to McDonalds, Chuck E Cheese, or TGFI Fridays. I support coffee shops that provide a tranquil atmosphere to relax, enjoy your personal time, or chat with friends or a small group. Shrieking kids do not contribute to that environment. Soon the neihborhood tavern will be the only kid-free place in town.

    Oh and get off my lawn.

  21. Kifune says:

    Why do kids automatically = shrieking hellions? Get over yourselves, judgemental Consumerist commenters. There are kids out there that are parented well, who can behave in public, and maybe, just maybe, deserve to frequent public venues like Starbucks. I’ve spent time in S*bucks over the years playing cards, reading with, having normal-level conversations and generally having the same impact as any other “adult” in the place with many kids — both my own and other’s spawns.

    Half the time some insensitive “adult” is the loudest in the joint talking incessant nonsense in their bluetooth headset because they are soooo important that I and everyone else must share their conversation.

  22. Snakeophelia says:

    How about a “Starbucks Too”, along the lines of Limited Too, where parents can go with kids? That way, there can be kid-friendly drinks and atmosphere, and the adults who want to sit quietly and read the paper can have the adults-only Starbucks.

    Not saying all kids are hellions. But it would be nice if some places other than bars were mainly adult-only.

  23. synergy says:

    @ekthesy: IAWTC

  24. synergy says:

    @InThrees: You and me.

  25. thepounder says:

    I had my first cup of coffee with my Grandfather while he was buying a brand new 1979 Grand Prix (at least I recall it was a Grand Prix)… I was 7. I wasn’t hooked immediately, but I do recall that as my first memory of good coffee. The picture that goes with this article reminded me of that. And I laugh that the Starbucks cup is nearly as big as the little boy.

    I’ll go ahead and admit that I find it kind of funny when little kids get too much caffeine in them and start running around like maniacs (a la Cornholio)… as long as they’re doing so at home, as opposed to in a store.

  26. jamesdenver says:

    @Kifune: Yeah it sucks, but just like every other Consumer experience you remember annoying kids, and the quiet kids coloring in the corner aren’t notice. (Until they trip over a laptop cord into your table and spill your coffee.)

    Related THIS has to be my all time favorite Craigslist post [www.craigslist.org]

    Oooh! What an adorable child! Those blonde curls are SOOO CUTE! No, don’t worry, though there’s barely room in this tiny cafe, that double-wide SUV assault stroller will be just fine here. That sure was nice of that couple to open both of the doors on their way out, providing just enough room for that push-golfcart to get in here. People always think its cute that they have to literally shift all of the tables toward the wall so that you can steer the toddler and 8 month old around the corner. Say! Is that a luggage rack below their sise-by-side bucket-seats? Wow! Besides one change of diapers and a box of crayons, think of all the toys and corn-syrup snacks that could be packed in there! Uh-oh, you’ve just ordered a Venti-Maximo-Mocha-Milka-Frippo… how can you possibly carry- Oh, wow… it has a drink holder built into the dashboard of the thing. Now that’s a real life saver. Those two people behind you in line seem to be a bit annoyed that you ran over their toes, and banged one of their shins, but your winning whitened smile and bleached hair won them over, and the first guy left his bike locked to a parking meter, which might be in your way when you leave. The second guy seemed down on his luck, and left a shopping cart full of who-knows-what right outside, as he came in to pay for coffee with change (you had the good sense to use a $20). Thank god that shopping cart and bike were left outside (could you imagine those filthy things in here? Ugh!) Ah, yes! a good idea… you were smart enough to grab a stack of napkins about 2 inches think, just in case the Mocha-mucko got on your capri pants or waist-tied wind-breaker. Alright, you’re almost ready to go, the coffee is safely in the drink holder, your sunglasses are poised ontop of your hair, ready to be deployed, all you need now is just to fake a struggle with the door, and some young man will be guilted into fulfilling his duty for the day. Okay, he held the door, now just issue a helpless and surrendered “Thaaaanks” and we’re off to the city! Ooh! I know a little pizza place a few blocks away!

  27. thepounder says:

    @Kifune: I so want an article on here someday about those self-important clowns who talk super loud when using a cellphone headset. “Look at me, I am very very important and all of you will hear my conversation about where I’m going on vacation or how much stock I’m about to sell…” blah blah

  28. ninabi says:

    My visits to Starbucks have tapered off now that local mothers of preschoolers have substituted lattes for for their naptimes.

  29. Trai_Dep says:

    While I have an extremely low tolerance for unruly children on planes, I’m much more liberal in public spaces like Starbucks. If they’re ADD they can run out and play in the parking lot, what have you. If they’re normal kids, they’re actually pretty kewl to check out. Kids are okay.

    Worse comes to worse, I can go to the outside patio then fill my immediate vicinity with a delightful haze of cigarette smoke. Count on the horrified parents snatching them away in five… Four… Three… GONE!! :D

  30. Kifune says:

    True, James — it’s the bad experiences that really do stand out.

  31. @thepounder: It’s funny if you start replying to their conversation or interjecting your thoughts at appropriate moments.

    Also staring at them in deep fascination while you obviously listen usually makes them take it outside. “How DARE you invade my privacy by listening to me shout at the top of my lungs in a public place?”

  32. UpsetPanda says:

    Starbucks is like any other public place – screaming, out of control children will annoy the crap out of you. Simple fact. If you are the parent who doesn’t do anything to control your screaming child’s behavior, then you will get the glares and the head-shakes, and that happens no matter where you go – there is really no single place where out of control children are tolerated or appreciated, not even kid-oriented places. Check out any good daycare. The staff won’t let a child scream and act out at other children, it hurts their ability to maintain authority if they let the kids do it.

    Because Starbucks is like any other public place that is largely geared more toward adults (or teens), and not children under 12, I know that parents need their coffee or tea just as much as I do. As long as children are behaving properly while moms and dads are enjoying their drinks and conversation, I can also enjoy my drink and conversation.

  33. buyless says:

    My sister used to work at a starbucks in manhattan. It was totally soul-crushing for her, but for me it was awesome. I would take my kids to her store and order a drink we called the “sippy cup special”.

    1/2 inch of decaf,
    1/2 a sugar packet,
    and the rest filled with warm milk.

    Talk about a contented kid!

  34. BII says:

    @Kifune

    Why do kids automatically = shrieking hellions? Get over yourselves, judgemental Consumerist commenters. There are kids out there that are parented well, who can behave in public, and maybe, just maybe, deserve to frequent public venues like Starbucks. I’ve spent time in S*bucks over the years playing cards, reading with, having normal-level conversations and generally having the same impact as any other “adult” in the place with many kids — both my own and other’s spawns.
    Half the time some insensitive “adult” is the loudest in the joint talking incessant nonsense in their bluetooth headset because they

    I worked for Starbucks for five years, the kind of adults that patronize $B are the same kind that spawn broods of unholy demons.

    The most stressful days were Sundays, when it was an endless parade of ankle biters running around knocking things overs, infants screaming for hours on end (gee, why wouldn’t a baby want to be at a starbucks?), kids crumbling their delicious scones and muffins all over the floor, hellions taking all the honey from the condiment bar and sucking them down, and of course the spraying of their sticky, sugary hot cocoas all over the floor, tables, chairs and walls.

    As a bonus, they’d tear up the paper straw covers and litter the floor like confetti.

    I don’t blame the kids though. It really is the parents that decide that “coffee time” is the same as “let the kids run around the store” time. And since Starbucks is not Chuck E. Cheese, the kids are full of pent up energy. Of course the sugary drinks aren’t helping matters.

  35. hoo_foot says:

    1) Get kids addicted to caffeine.

    2) Caffeine addiction continues through adult age, making the kid a lifelong consumer of coffee and tea.

    3) Profit!!!

    Hey, it worked for the tobacco companies!

  36. Galls says:

    @InThrees:

    I am with you!

    The false intellectualism that starbucks provides for its arrogant customers is to much for me to handle. I feel sick going into that cesspool of American consumerism culture.

  37. Galls says:

    @MissJoanne:
    “Starbucks is like any other public place – screaming, out of control children will annoy the crap out of you. Simple fact. If you are the parent who doesn’t do anything to control your screaming child’s behavior, then you will get the glares and the head-shakes, and that happens no matter where you go – there is really no single place where out of control children are tolerated or appreciated, not even kid-oriented places. Check out any good daycare. The staff won’t let a child scream and act out at other children, it hurts their ability to maintain authority if they let the kids do it.

    Because Starbucks is like any other public place that is largely geared more toward adults (or teens), and not children under 12, I know that parents need their coffee or tea just as much as I do. As long as children are behaving properly while moms and dads are enjoying their drinks and conversation, I can also enjoy my drink and conversation. “
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .

    That is the problem, Starbucks is not a Public Space. It replaced the public space with PRIVATE space. The same way the mall has replaced the town square. I can go beyond that and say that the fact that the public space is now a starbucks, a very private place where trespass laws have full value, it has killed one of the core values of Democracy.

  38. Mr.Purple says:

    @trai_dep: @trai_dep: That is quite disrespectful. Shunning somebody with a mental condition is not kind. Growing up with ADD I know what it is like, and people like you are what make having add so hard (I kept mine a secret because of it). People with add CAN NOT CONTROL IT.

  39. Elijah-M says:

    @factotum: “Thankfully, there are still Peet’s and independent coffee shops…”

    You’re talking about the coffee shops that don’t provide every single one of their employees with affordable health insurance, right? Yeah, those are the people who deserve your money.

  40. Trai_Dep says:

    @Mr.Purple: for gods’ sake, that was hyperbole. Geezus…

  41. Orchid64 says:

    The conclusions people are making are very interesting because they’re highly ethnocentric. The notion that coffee and tea are “adult” beverages that are ultimately harmful to children are very American notions. Children (about 25%) in England drink tea for breakfast (as do German children, 21%). Seventeen percent of Italian children drink coffee for breakfast. I’m pretty sure that the sort of over-protective responses we’re seeing here would seem very misplaced in Europe.


    While I don’t believe it’s a good idea to give toddlers or infants any sort of caffeinated beverage because it causes serotonin depletion and can lead to mood and sleeping problems, it’s not a travesty for children to drink coffee or tea occasionally. It’s not going to harm their growth or turn them into instant addicts.


    Starbucks in unlikely to shoot themselves in the foot and embrace children as a market at the expense of the atmosphere of their shops. I think they’re mainly hoping to give parents something their kids might enjoy when they stop in for coffee to go, not try to turn it into a place children are likely to hang out. As always, everyone overreacts to this news rather than consider that offering beverages that are more conventionally acceptable for kids may be a good thing as it may offer an alternative to the sugary hot chocolate option.

  42. Her Grace says:

    Huh. Mom gave me coffee in sippy cups as a toddler. Tea as a young child. Strangely, I still can’t stomch Starbucks (thanks for making us go there, Mother Who Hates Lattes And Thus All Good Australian Coffee). I drink an average amount of coffee and tea. And I have the lucky bonus that the only thing the caffiene really does (in normal doses) is help kill my migraines.

    I’m all for coffee shops teaching children the mysterious ways of coffee. If only it wasn’t Starbucks–teaching a child true coffee appreciation is one thing, but drone-coffee is another.

  43. CoffeeAddict says:

    I started drinking coffee at a very very young age and it does not stunt your growth. If it does I’m very glad. I’m about 6ft tall and who knows what kind of giant i would have been without coffee. My uncle is 6ft 6in and he drank coffee from a very young age and it also did not stunt his growth. So anyone who can actually prove such a thing I would love to see it, and even if they came up with some half baked proof I’d say they were lying and generally hated coffee. So that said I also serve my son coffee and he loves it and those busy bodies who want to sneer at me can go right ahead because it perfectly fine and won’t hurt him one bit. Those who don’t drink coffee are likely the ones preaching of the evils of coffee and really need to find a better hobby like feeding the homeless or bringing peace to war torn countries. Thank you.