Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Starbucks Lets It All Hang Out

Don't let it get away!

Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.

Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.

About a year ago, Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX  ) went stealthy, opening new stores cloaked in non-Starbucks names, with decor intended to emulate indie cafes. While that plan seems to have fizzled, the company is trying another tactic: branching out from caffeine into alcohol.

According to The Seattle Times, Starbucks has canned plans to open a third undercover Starbucks. It will, however, remodel another popular Seattle Starbucks under its own brand name as a venue for live entertainment, selling wine and beer alongside its signature coffee.

Starbucks called its two incognito shops "learning labs," a part of its effort to remain fresh and relevant amid ongoing rivalry from McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) , Peet's (Nasdaq: PEET  ) , Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR  ) , and Caribou (Nasdaq: CBOU  ) . Investors should welcome companies that try out new concepts -- as long as they don't anger their customers in the process. In that light, I found Starbucks' previous plan risky, since consumers don't like feeling duped.

Then again, this new venture could prove no less perilous. Offering booze definitely differentiates the company from its coffee rivals, and the expanded beverage selection could take excellent advantage of Starbucks' strong distribution network and customer traffic. But Starbucks' latest attempt to boost its late-day customer traffic strays beyond the coffee giant's core competency, and mixing caffeine and alcohol could lead to a truly hellacious bar brawl if patrons get too rowdy. The company has no plans to offer beer and wine at any other Starbucks locations thus far.

Even if it's adding stronger stuff than espresso to its roster of drinks, I'm glad to see Starbucks staying proud to be Starbucks. Share your thoughts on the java giant's about-face -- or its decision to serve an altogether different kind of brew -- in the comments box below.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Starbucks is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor choice. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Alyce Lomax owns shares of Starbucks. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (7)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1220040, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/25/2016 6:39:53 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 9 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,223.03 77.32 0.43%
S&P 500 2,151.33 10.17 0.47%
NASD 5,309.83 52.43 1.00%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/24/2016 4:00 PM
SBUX $54.18 Up +0.55 +1.03%
Starbucks CAPS Rating: ****
CBOU.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Caribou Coffee Com… CAPS Rating: ***
GMCR.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Keurig Green Mount… CAPS Rating: **
MCD $113.57 Down -0.36 -0.32%
McDonald's CAPS Rating: ***
PEET.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Peet's Coffee & Te… CAPS Rating: *