Maybe you're more prescient than I am, but I didn't expect Oprah Winfrey to make an appearance at Starbucks' (NASDAQ: SBUX ) annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday. It turns out the famed talk-show host is teaming up with (Starbucks-owned) Teavana to release an Oprah-branded chai in time for Mother's Day. Investors can breathe easy.
Perhaps even more important -- if that's possible -- the company also announced that mobile payments now account for 14% of transactions . In January, the company was making 10% of its transactions through customers' phones. The growth in mobile is indicative of what Starbucks is attempting to do with its entire operation, and it was a sign of things to come at the meeting.
CEO Howard Schultz said that Starbucks is hoping to double its market cap, saying that Starbucks is still in the "early stages of ... growth and development." Now that's an interesting perspective.
Starbucks puts the emphasis on growth
For a company with 20,000 locations, doubling market cap might seem a bit bold -- and it is. Starbucks won't get there simply by selling more coffee in its stores; it has to focus on growth opportunities. For the past two years, those opportunities have been represented by Teavana and food. Teavana was added to the business in late 2012 and food has been undergoing a rebirth, with Starbucks acquisition of La Boulange.
Starbucks has some other tricks up its sleeve, though. For instance, the last question Schultz took at the meeting concerned adding beer and wine to the Starbucks' menu. Starbucks Evenings have been established in select locations, offering wine and food after 4 p.m. Schultz said yesterday the brand would "never be what the coffee business is. But it will be an incremental part of the business."
One of the company's more interesting announcements was that it would begin allowing mobile users to tip via their phone's Starbucks app. It's all part of Starbucks' "giving back" image, and it resonates with the company's core customer base.
Starbucks in 2014
For the rest of the year, Starbucks will keep tapping all the same keys, but the tune is going to keep getting louder. Earlier this month, Starbucks announced that it would expand its offerings through Keurig Green Mountain. In exchange for allowing Keurig to offer other high-end coffees in K-Cup packs, Starbucks will get better financial terms and more exposure.
The "more" theme also involves the continued expansion of tea and food. Teavana's tea bar concept is going to expand within New York City and then out to Chicago and Los Angeles. Food is going to play an increasingly large role, as well, as the company's bakery offerings are expanded. Starbucks has a long way to go to double its market cap, but 2014 is going to be a launching pad for that growth.
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