While Starbucks had a great fourth quarter, foot traffic saw little improvement. In order to get more diners into its cafes, the coffee giant plans to employ the following strategies in 2019.
Unfortunately, the once much sought-after Frappuccino beverages no longer resonate with customers. This is more than likely due to the fact that health-conscious consumers no longer want to waste calories on whipped cream topped drinks.
However, as consumers move away from Frappuccinos, they're starting to move more towards cold beverages with less caffeine and calories. Because of this new trend, Starbucks plans to expand their cold beverage line-up in 2019, including the following:
Teavana Branded Iced Teas and "Refreshers"
Starbuck's line of fruity, lightly-caffeinated beverages offer less caffeine and calories than most other drinks on Starbucks menu. With flavors ranging from peach green tea to pineapple berry blue hearbal tea, you can expect these flavors to expand even more in 2019.
Nitro Cold Brew
In 2019, Starbucks will offer Nitro Cold Brew coffee to all of its 8,500 company-owned stores. This cold brew coffee is infused with nitrogen to produce a silky, rich taste with a creamy head. Currently only available in 2,500 Starbucks stores, you can expect to see this new form of coffee more widely available in 2019.
Through a partnership with Uber Eats, Starbucks plans to bring delivery to a quarter of its company-owned stores. Typically, digital and mobile orders not only bring a higher check for restaurants, however they're also predominantly placed through delivery orders. Starbucks hopes to follow in the footsteps of other quick-service chains, like McDonald's, and captialize on this growing delivery trend.
Currently, Starbucks offers delivery in China through Alibaba, and that partnership has been a success. So much so that Starbucks plans to double its presence in China over the next four years. The delivery service in China utilizes specially designed, spill-proof lids for hot and cold beverages, as well as tamper-proof food packaging that keeps items hot and cold (depending on the item).
However, don't expect delivery on every item on Starbucks menu. Some items, as Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson points out, are just not feasible through delivery. For example, a cappuccino with a lot of foam will have a hard time going through the delivery process.
You can expect Starbucks delivery through Uber Eats as early as the second quarter in 2019.
With nearly 30,000 locations worldwide, more than 14,000 in the U.S. alone, Starbucks is the second-most common food service chain. Unfortunately, that abundant saturation is only hurting the chain. Individual stores are suffering from fewer transactions and market cannibalization.
To combat this fact, Starbucks plans to close 150 under-performing stores in 2019, which is three times more than it normally closes. By closing more stores than usual, the coffee giant hopes to "right the ship" and focus more on better-performing stores. No lists of stores slated to close has been announced as of yet, however we'll keep you updated once we find out.