Seattle's Best unveils drive-thru store model

Nov. 15, 2012

Seattle's Best Coffee, part of Starbucks Corporation, has introduced a new store design that features drive-thru and walk-up only.

The smaller model is less than 600 square feet, which is 65 percent smaller than its traditional store model. According to a company press release, the new store model represents a transformed retail strategy for the brand.

Seattle's Best Coffee's objective is to appeal to a large and growing audience of customers who are increasingly getting their coffee on-the-go. According to NPD Group, last year 12.4 billion visits were made through drive-thrus, a 2 percent increase over the prior year.

The company began testing the concept in March in a suburban Chicago neighborhood. The new store makes its debut in Seattle's SODO neighborhood and it is expected to roll out in more markets beginning in 2013.

"Customers are demanding better coffee everywhere they go and we believe we've cracked the code on how to deliver a premium cup of coffee in the fast lane at just the right price," said Jim McDermet, senior vice president and general manager, Seattle's Best Coffee. "We have completely overhauled our store concept both inside and out. Our drive-thru store features a new menu of affordable, delicious, car-friendly beverages and food for customers who need a one-stop destination without any compromises, any time of the day."

The new menu lineup

The new menu line-up was finalized from the test model in Chicago. Based on customer feedback, new signature food items and value combo meals have been added, and a focus on coffee drinks has been maintained.

The menu includes dessert-inspired coffee drinks such as Birthday Cake Lattes, Caramel Candy Lattes and S'mores Mochas that are served hot, iced or frozen.

Brewed coffee includes either original or dark blend with free flavored creamers. The menu also features traditional coffeehouse standards such as lattes and mochas.

Food options will be available across all departs, and include egg breakfast sandwiches on muffins or biscuits with sausage, ham or cheese; pretzel melts stuffed with ham & cheese, turkey and provolone or spinach and feta; and sweet or savory handheld "Anytime Pies," including Spicy Mac 'N' Cheese, Cheesy Egg & Potato and Caramel Apple.

Also with the launch of the new store, Seattle's Best Coffee begins rolling out a new approach to value with four combo meals. Each includes a car-friendly food item and coffee. Combos include:

  • Any breakfast sandwich and any size coffee for $3.49;
  • Any Pretzel Melt and any size soda for $4.29;
  • Any pie and any size coffee for $2.99; and
  • Oatmeal and any size coffee for $2.79.

Design and layout

The small footprint design and lean station layouts allows the baristas to assemble orders more efficiently, enabling speed of service that matches industry drive-thru expectations, according to the company. The small design will be utilized for retail growth in small spaces. In Seattle's SODO neighborhood, the drive-thru is in a highly visible, easily accessible location on a 5,400-square-foot parcel of land at the edge of a retail center that previously was viewed as undevelopable. The pedestrian- and bike-friendly walk-up window is adjacent to the sidewalk.

The building features a prominent red exterior and tall facade making it easily identifiable from the road. Once drivers approach the store, the window-wrapped design allows customers to see their order being made by Seattle's Best Coffee baristas. The menu layout also enables ease of ordering with large product images and line pricing, and every like beverage is the same price whether ordered hot, iced or frozen.

Read more about franchising and growth.

Topics: Coffee/Bakery/Donut , Drive-thru , Food & Beverage , Franchising & Growth , Restaurant Design / Layout

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