With Starbucks’ Howard Schulz now an executive chairman and COO Kevin Johnson replacing him as CEO, the Seattle-based giant is making some tweaks, starting at its SoDo headquarters. Two new concepts — a test store just for pick-up of mobile orders, and the first Reserve-only store — are launching at 2401 Utah Ave South, according to an announcement sent to employees last week, and will likely spread before long.
The test store, designed to alleviate long pick-up lines created by the chain’s successful Mobile Order and Pay app, will eliminate both the cashier counter and seating. For now, only Starbucks employees will be able to utilize the streamlined service, but a spokesperson told Eater “it could be interesting as a future store model,” with certain shops retaining a traditional cafe setting but others offering an even higher level of convenience to users on the go.
Of more immediate relevance to the average Starbucks consumer is news that Starbucks’ first Reserve store — a concept that features single origin beans from the company’s Capitol Hill Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, a bevy of coffee brewing options, and baked goods produced on site by Princi bakers — will open in the lobby of the headquarters, and will therefore be open to the public.
Starbucks has added Reserve counters to existing stores in New York and Chicago, and took the same tack by combining the traditional format with a Reserve counter at a new store opened downtown at the corner of 1st Ave and University St in late February, but the SoDo version would be the first Reserve-only model.
The existing SoDo Lobby location will close April 7, and its replacement is projected to open in the fall. In the meantime, another new concept, a Starbucks mobile truck, will serve as a stopgap on the building’s front patio.
Read the full Starbucks announcement in Eater’s report from last week.
Correction, 4/3/17: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the location of Starbucks’ new store at the corner of 1st Ave and University St as the U District. The store is downtown.