By Marcus Leach
Starbucks Coffee U.K. (Nasdaq: SBUX) have announced its intent to create thousands of new jobs as it significantly steps up its drive-thru program following three years of development and strong customer response to the convenience of Starbucks coffee on-the-go.
The move will see 200 new drive-thru stores opened over the next five years and will establish Starbucks as the market leader in this area. Combined with openings of conventional stores over the same period, the company expects to create 5,000 new jobs.
The growth reflects the continuing trend for better coffee in the U.K., which means that customers now want the best coffee wherever they are, rather than just as a High Street treat.
They think existing coffee on the road is “very poor” and are demanding the same quality they know from the High Street (source: Allegra Strategies).
Starbucks currently has nine drive-thrus, the first opened in Cardiff in 2008.
Around half of the drive-thrus will be operated under license by petrol forecourt retailer Euro Garages, many of these stores will be in the Midlands and north of England.
Starbucks is developing a new drive-thru concept store which will bring new levels of comfort and environmental performance to the roadside.
With more than 700 stores in the U.K., Starbucks has recorded consistent sales growth during the last two years following a series of innovations ranging from switching to 100 percent Fairtrade espresso, launching new store designs, introducing stronger “Flat White” coffee, offering new food, free Wi-Fi, and sharing success with partners (employees) through free stock shares, known as Beanstock.
It has also found many new places to sell its coffee, including on trains and planes as well as in supermarkets and workplaces. In 2010, Starbucks opened 35 motorway stores with Welcome Break, serving seven million cups in the first year of operation.
“Customers told us that they now expect the best possible coffee wherever they are and the success of our first drive-thru stores shows that this is a huge opportunity,"
"It also means that we are able to create quality jobs at a time when they are most needed and because half of our baristas are under 24 years-old, this will particularly benefit young job-seekers at a time of record youth unemployment.”
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