A Starbucks Inside Every Starbucks

Tucked into this article about the math and money behind placing Starbucks across the street from one another is this nifty quote.

“At some stage there (are) limits to their expansion, but to date we really haven’t seen any signs that they are near that point.”

Is it possible that making more Starbucks only increases the demand for more Starbucks?

Starbucks plans dense ‘fill-in’ growth [DenverPost] (Thanks to Brandon!)


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  1. spin_sycle says:

    United States of Starbucks?

  2. AcilletaM says:

    The Target near me in Mundelein has a Starbucks in it and they are building another one in the parking lot.

    There is a saturation point but it will be about the same as how many vending machines in a building are too much. They are a beverage company that has to compete on convenience. The compete with the coffee machine or coffee pot in the break room. They have to have stores damn near everywhere. They are what Pepsi/Coke/etc would have been if they hadn’t packaged soda in cans or bottles.

    That said, if any company (Dunkin’ Donuts) wants to really compete with Starbucks, perfect a coffee machine that makes consistent hot coffee drinks like the stores do (my gf won’t go to certain Starbucks because “they don’t know how to make the macchiato-or-somesuch-thing”) and market the hell out of them to offices. People don’t leave the offices and then Starbucks has an issue. Starbucks can’t compete head-to-head with other companies when it comes to food or other offerings, those are impulse buys at Starbucks essentially. Starbucks stores start closing. Oh, and hey, if Starbucks develops the machines first, they still screw their own stores. Company may make money but stores still close.

    If there are going to be so many of them around, I just wish they had good coffee.

  3. aaagh, i’m trying for a tribble joke, but it’s just not coming to me.

  4. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I think that can only be a good thing. I know I’m still exhausted from that day last week where I had to actually CROSS THE STREET to get coffee.

  5. RumorsDaily says:

    I heard a rather astute explanation of why Starbucks does this.

    From the outside observer’s viewpoint, it seems like Starbucks is going to cut into its own business. What’s the point of coaxing away customers from your own stores?

    In reality Starbucks does this to affect something similar to a “loss leader.” Starbucks is a big enough company, that it will be ok if a few of its stores are losing money. Your local mom-and-pop coffee joint, on the other hand, cannot.

    When Starbucks jams 24 shops into three square blocks, no coffee vendor is going to make a profit. This includes any of the individual Starbucks stores, but it also includes all of Starbucks’ competitors. Eventually the competitors leave (or go out of business) and Starbucks finds a way to either raise prices, close stores, or otherwise make the stores more profitable (understaff them?).

    In the end, it’s essentially a monopolistic practice, but it’s too subtle to ever draw the attention of any government agency.

    I’m actually rather impressed by the cleverness, assuming it’s true.

  6. mustang says:

    Where I live there is a starbucks on the west side of the street but the street is really busy and as a result if a person is driving north bound the starbucks on the west side of the street is pretty much inaccessible. To solve this problem they just built another starbucks on the east side of the street half a block further north. Now drivers heading north see the starbucks on the west side of the street right before driving past a more convenient starbucks on the east side of the street. Clearly this principle also works for drivers headed south. Please see my awesome ascii map below where north is up, S denotes a starbucks , * denotes other store fronts and the double parallel lines || equals street. Enjoy.


  7. AcidReign says:

    …..Waffle House has been doing the same thing for about 40 years near me. There are two within a block of one another near the intersection of US 31 and I-65, in Hoover. Both are packed most of the time. Taking a left turn on US 31 any time except 12 midnight to 5 AM is a chore. Luckily, there are smothered, covered and splatted hashbrowns on both sides of the highway!

    …..As good as Waffle House hash-browns are, they don’t beat mine. (Ore-Ida fried in bacon grease. Mmm!)

    …..But Starbucks? I had a cappucino in O’Hare that was ok a couple of years ago, but it cost more than my lunch. I recently received a coupon for a free 12 oz. drink from a new Starbucks opening near me. Expecting something for nothing, I used it.

    …..Their shot of espresso tasted like, say, Great Value or 8 o’clock strained lukewarm through a piss-soaked paper towel and left on the burner for eight hours. Bitter, I like. Rancid, no. I don’t think O’Henry’s Coffee is in any danger from this operation. Even the cheap mexican restaurant next door has better coffee. Yuck!

  8. Triteon says:

    In the end, it’s essentially a monopolistic practice, but it’s too subtle to ever draw the attention of any government agency.
    Yeah, it’s too bad Teddy Roosevelt is dead. This was the same practice that JP Morgan used at the turn of the 19th century.
    BTW, the “Starbucks inside a Starbucks” was an old joke on The Onion. Ah, for the halcyon days days when it was a joke.

  9. factotum says:

    Where are all the roasters for the coffee beans that Starbucks uses? There must be huge industrial-complex-like mega roasters to supply fresh coffee to all these stores. Oh, wait, fresh coffee? My mistake. Starbucks beans are over-roasted to mask the staleness.

  10. factotum says:

    I found my answer (http://www.sptimes.com/2006/09/27/Business/Outsmalling_Starbucks.shtml)

    “Starbucks: The 350,000-square-foot roasting, packaging and warehouse plant in suburban Kent churns out up to 1.5-million pounds of coffee per week, using high-tech computer controls to monitor roasting equipment that can handle 400- to 600-pound batches of beans. The coffee there is subjected to periodic quality checks.”

    Even with a quality control staff of let’s say 50, 1.5 million pounds of coffee is going to have a lot of bad beans.

  11. Pelagius says:

    We’ve gone from zero to three *$s within two blocks of my drone hive in the last year. However, the Korean bodega in the lobby still makes better coffee and it’s 99 cents per cup.

  12. TheChaz says:

    At least we haven’t yet reached PHASE TWO!


  13. In Manhattan down at Astor Place by Kmart, there are 2 Starbucks that are biascally 1/2 a bloc kaway- its’ at a wierd intersection so it’s tough to define, but you can certainly be standing inside one Starbucks and looking across to the other one.

  14. In Osaka, on Midosuji (equivalent to Michigan Avenue in Chicago), there are 3 Starbucks on 1 block. Two individual Starbucks storefronts across the street from each other, and one inside a “Loft” store on the same block. Then again, that was almost 4 years ago…there might be more there now.

  15. FLConsumer says:

    Could someone explain the draw/allure of Starbucks to me? I’ve had their coffee several times, but never found it anything worth repeating, and that’s before talking about the bullshit names for products/sizes and high prices. I’ve certainly had worse coffee (McDonald’s, airlines, catering), but at the same time, I’ve had FAR better for far less money.

  16. Magicube says:

    They seem to have just opened a new one within the last day or two at 35th/5th in Manhattan. The density here is amazing. It used to bother me, then I bought their stock. I’m up 93%.

  17. AcilletaM says:

    Basically it doesn’t matter how the coffee tastes when you only put a shot of it in milk and sugary syrups.

  18. bambino says:

    This may help with some of the confusion: those ‘Starbucks’ you see in Target, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers are not really ‘Starbucks’. They usually are approved storefronts that merely ‘serve starbucks coffee’. What I mean by this is that the employees in these ‘shops within stores’ do not go through the same training as a barista would at a stand-alone starbucks. Argue all you want about how it’s not hard to pull a shot of espresso, but I guarantee the coffee made by ’employees of starbucks’ tastes better than that made by ’employees of Target’.

  19. Triteon says:
  20. Funklord says:

    Slight correction bambino, Starbucks employees no longer pull shots of espresso, they just push a button on a machine. I have a hard time believing that an employee in a “real” Starbucks is any better at pushing a button than an employee in a Target.

  21. bambino says:

    Funklord, in my urban area, they still ‘pull’. The point is that the quality control that I’ve seen in ‘real’ starbucks (frequent district manager visits) is non-existent in these other ‘storefronts’.

  22. acambras says:

    Here in New England, the ubiquity of Dunkin Donuts is of similar magnitude. There are more than 20 locations in my town of 50,000 people.

    I prefer Dunkin Donuts to Starbucks — sure, they don’t have the old-school coffeehouse ambiance and baristas “pulling” espressos, but they also don’t have the barista attitudes that have put off so many Starbucks customers.

    Besides, their caramel Coolattas are damn yummy.

  23. flyover says:

    Starbucks “cider” is apple juice.
    Effing sick.

  24. Yay, my submission was used! Free Starbucks for everyone!

  25. Fatlimey says:

    Douglas Adams already foresaw this phenomenon, only he described the economic downfall of an industrialized planet using Shoe Shops:


  26. jessmyn says:

    This is so silly. You all assume that what you hear is real and so you think that Starbucks in a Target isn’t really Starbucks, with untrained target employees..yadayada…..
    They receive the same training as the baristas in the regular ol’ Starbucks.
    And yes, they do just push a button now, and you may argue that baristas can pull better shots — fine, but many of you have your facts messed up. Talk to a barista sometime. Ask one a question you have and let them answer. E-mail Starbucks. Get facts straight before spewing them out like you really know.
    As far as bean quality, try again: Every batch is tested at several stages to ensure quality and stale??! Please!! If the beans still have their oils and are protected with a seal right after roasting, then they’re great. Folgers and the like are ground, stale, and then “flavor packed.” Try that. And just in case anyone out there believes that the coffee tastes burned – refine your palete and try a lighter coffee.