First Look: Starbucks debuts premium store format

Starbucks Corp. has opened its Reserve store, a new upscale format that combines higher-end coffees with freshly-made Italian goods and, in the afternoon and evening, cocktails.

Located on the main floor of the coffee giant’s Seattle headquarters and open to the public, Reserve features some elements of Starbucks’ immersive Reserve Roastery format, mainly brewing and roasting techniques and small-lot coffees. It is the first of 1,000 Reserve stores Starbucks plans to open.

Reserve is designed in an open, marketplace style and includes community tables and lounge areas around two fireplaces. It serves food from Princi, the Italian artisanal bakery that Starbucks has an investment in, and offers a view of the Princi kitchen, where customers can see such items as breads pizzas prepared daily. The space also includes a full bar serving traditional Italian cocktails.

“While our Roasteries are designed to be bold, educational environments, our Reserve store takes the best of coffee craft as well as artisan baking and layers in a marketplace-style customer experience creating a space that has both energy and moments of intimacy” said Liz Muller, senior VP, creative, global design & innovation.

Starbucks co-founder and executive chairman Howard Schultz, who stepped down as CEO last year to oversee the Roastery and Reserve initiatives, said the opening of the first Reserve “marks another significant milestone as we have taken everything we have learned from our highly successful Roasteries, the relevancy of the third place and the overwhelming reception of freshly baked Princi food to an environment that will re-define customer connection and continue to serve as a halo to the rest of the business.”

In addition to expanding Reserve, Starbucks plans to open standalone Princi locations in Seattle, Chicago and New York, and Roasteries in Milan and New York later this year, in addition to Tokyo and Chicago in, 2019.

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