All Aboard for a Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato

Starbucks on a train










Starbucks is testing a new cafe concept: on a train car.

As USA Today reports, “The move comes at a time that Starbucks continues ramping-up its efforts to expand outside the conventional storefront. It’s sold in grocery stores. It’s sold on college campuses. It’s served on some airplanes. And now, even a Swiss train…On the entry level, the baristas will serve passengers from behind a curved wooden bar that also features a small pastry case. There is a standing bar provided for customers. The upstairs boasts a lounge area with moveable club chairs and shared wooden tables.”

What do you think: does opening Starbucks outside of a traditional storefront extend or dilute the brand?


9 thoughts on “All Aboard for a Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato

  1. Rachel MacDonald

    I think that Starbucks expanding outside of their traditional storefront is a step that could be beneficial to them in order to extend their brand. I think that many people will respond positively to a Starbucks train, as it will allow them to skip the step of having to get their morning coffee at a location different from where they need to go. This provides consumers with almost a one-stop experience, where they don’t have to worry about balancing their time so that they can grab a morning coffee and still make their train to work.

    As they have designed the train to mimic the inside of their stores and considered the constant movement of the train, they should be able to encompass a similar atmosphere that exists in their stores. However, because there is limited space, I doubt that they will be able to have all of the products available on the train that they do in their stores. This could cause some negative reactions from consumers. I think that it is a good idea that they are keeping it contained to the Zurich area and waiting until they receive some feedback before they start incorporating this idea into other areas. It will be interesting to see the feedback from the Swiss train and whether it will expand to different locations.

  2. Ryan Fernandes

    I think i does extend their brand. I recently had a conversation with a corporate retail setting manager at Starbucks and he talked about the core values of the brand. Even though Starbucks is known for their store front, they are also known for their innovation with products and experiences. With that said, I think this is consistent with how they are trying to expand and grow, while staying with their brand. Different locations have different needs and Starbucks is trying to satisfy those needs and the different lifestyles of the targets. They started with a drive through for the time poor individuals and have now moved onto another non-traditional method with the train coffee shop.

  3. Amy

    I feel like this is a very effective branding strategy. I know we talked about different ways to reinforce your brand in class and one of those ways was to innovate and also to reinforce your brand imagery. I feel like this is exactly what Starbucks is doing. In order for them to remain a top competitor and to differentiate themselves, they need to keep things fresh and new. They are adding convenience to individuals lives by now offering them Starbucks on the train, It is definitely a good move for this company and does not dilute their brand image or meaning.

  4. Stephanie Rathakrishnan

    I agree that this is a great step for Starbucks. It allows them to expand their distribution and reinforce their brand. I think this strategy strengthens their brand rather than dilute it as they focus on providing superior service. Having their products available on the train also provides convenience for their users. This is a great way to differentiate themselves while expanding.

  5. deborahlamm

    I think this will be interesting as they may have found a way to revolutionize commuting. Commuting is probably the worst part of any workers’ day, and having Starbucks there to comfort them in their time of need (and coffee) can only help strengthen the brand’s image.

  6. raquelparedes

    I agree with the comments above, swaying from tradition by offering a Starbucks train will serve as a positive brand extension as long as the experiential marketing that is offered within all Starbucks stores is present on the train. It is definitely a good idea though, like Deb said, an early morning commute can always be made better by a Starbucks coffee.

  7. Allison

    I agree, I think this is a great way to innovate for Starbucks. Starbucks brand creates an exceptional experience in its stores which is fairly consistent across its various locations. If Starbucks can still manage to create and “experience” for the train riders early in the morning than I think that they will definitely see the benefits. However, I would be curious to know what segment of consumers are riding the train everyday, and will this be something they want to experience? Yes I agree with Raquel and Deb that a Starbucks coffee in the morning can make a train ride better, but perhaps the segment is not looking to spend 10 dollars for coffee and breakfast on top of their comute.

  8. rachelnakamoto

    I agree as this is an extension to their brand. I think it is a great idea for Starbuck to expand its availability and target an area where they could become the norm. They could potentially partner up with a train company to exclusively sell Starbucks products on their trains. I also agree that having coffee when commuting can make the experience more enjoyable and tolerable.

  9. Tweety Lai

    I think it is a great move for Starbucks and i would totally love it if I don’t have to make time for morning coffee and can enjoy it during the ride. Having a market test in a specific geographic area allows Starbucks to collect feedbacks and it is less risky then implementing the concept throughout countries. The size of the cafe and the movements of the train will be constraints therefore it is important to have well trained employees to maintain the quality of Starbucks.


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