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Premium push: Starbucks opens first Reserve store at Seattle HQ

Coffee has always been a beverage that is appealing to all age-groups, and the recent trend of customers drifting en masse from carbonated drinks to caffeinated beverages underscores the latter’s widespread acceptance.

No wonder Starbucks could build its empire by successfully tapping into that sentiment.

The company on Tuesday upped its ‘premium’ ante by launching the first Reserve store at the Seattle headquarters. The move is widely perceived as a strategy to tackle competition from upscale coffee brands like Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea.

A total of 1,000 Reserve stores are in the pipeline, primarily serving the ultra-premium Reserve Roastery drink menu, delicacies from Princi Italian bakery and alcoholic beverages from a cocktail bar.

The innovative format of Reserve store, which is part of Starbuck’s Siren Retail business, is marked by the marketplace-style store atmosphere it offers to customers.

The main attraction of the premium food joints will be the popular roasting and brewing techniques of Starbucks Roastery and pastries and bread from Princi, which recently entered into a partnership with Starbucks.

Despite mounting competition, with several new players entering the market, Starbucks last year achieved the feat of trumping McDonald’s on U.S. store count.

The move is widely perceived as a strategy to tackle competition from upscale coffee brands like Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea

On the economic viability of the new venture, amid concerns that Starbucks is rolling out too many stores, former executive Howard Schultz said the company aims to leverage the recent fall in real estate rents.

The project envisages the launch of around 1,000 Reserve stores and 30 Reserve Roastery emporiums.

Introducing new coffee variants will help Starbucks in cashing in on the growing sentiment against sugary soft drinks, with more and more people turning to healthier alternatives.

Of late, the growing obesity concerns and health awareness have been a driving force behind leading soda companies rapidly losing market share.

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