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Strange Brew Wake up and smell Starbucks' latest coffeehouse concept.

By Heather Page

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Something's brewing at Starbucks. Never content to rest onits laurels, the Seattle coffee giant that made a splash withgrab-and-go coffee has quietly premiered a new concept.

Through its latest venture, Circadia Coffee House in SanFrancisco, Starbucks is experimenting with a completely differentapproach to java. A swift departure from Starbucks' sparse,no-nonsense ambiance, this 3,100-square-foot coffeehouse is gracedwith antique furnishings, red velvet curtains and well-worncouches. More than just a place to grab a cup of joe, Circadia alsoboasts complete breakfast, lunch and dinner menus; a full liquorbar; live music; Internet access from many tables and a privatemeeting place called the Green Room. This cross between aneighborhood coffeehouse, a restaurant and a bar caters to a hip,urban crowd, many of whom have shunned Starbucks in the past.It's also a place where customers can sink into a comfy couch,sip a mocha or martini, and stay awhile.

Why develop such a distinct offshoot? Starbucks won't spillthe beans as to how the new venture fits into its overall corporatestrategy, nor will it discuss any of its future plans for expandingthe Circadia concept. What it will say is Circadia is anexperiment of sorts, an attempt to test new waters and expand itscustomer base. "We were looking for an environment that would[attract] a different kind of customer," explains GailDiSantis, Circadia's concept manager. "We wanted to bringcustomers in at different times of the day and not just be about[coffee] to all people."

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