Starbucks Drive-Thru: Don’t Do It

Today's WSJ has an article about Starbucks' expansion into the suburbs. One of the major store changes is the addition of drive throughs because people in the suburbs can't typically walk to local establishments. The article focuses on how consumers will respond to the change. Will it make Starbucks less like Starbucks?

I don't understand why Starbucks doesn't open a store with a different name. Hasn't recent history shown us that brand expansions can lead to confusion and rejection by customers? Give the new stores an identity related to Starbucks, but one that doesn't change the original image. Make sure to point out that you serve Starbucks coffee, but that you have a different model. Brand the new stores as "Starbucks for the suburbs." I think suburbanites would like that. It would make them feel special.

So what do you think? Should Howard Schultz nix the Starbucks drive through before it goes too far?

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