Starbucks Targets Manhattan for New Concepts


A rendering of the new Starbucks upscale cafe in Seattle. (Starbucks)
A rendering of the new Starbucks upscale cafe in Seattle. (Starbucks)

Starbucks Coffee is planning to bring two new types of stores to Manhattan, a grab-and-go concept as well as a slow bar.

The global coffee behemoth announced last month that it was launching a high-end concept in Seattle, as well as an express store in Manhattan in 2015. But Commercial Observer has learned that Starbucks is also searching for space for the upscale cafe in Manhattan.

“Part of Starbucks’ model is to evolve their brand,” said Taryn Brandes of SCG Retail who along with SCG Retail’s David Firestein represents Starbucks in Manhattan. For the high-end slow bar cafes, Starbucks is looking for 1,800 square feet in some of the “trendier markets,” she noted.

A source with knowledge of the upscale cafe search said the store will be similar to “some of the cooler, more independent coffee shops.”

Starbucks is calling the new 15,000-square-foot Seattle cafe, to open in December, Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room. It wasn’t immediately clear if that would be the name used in Manhattan. Starbucks declined to answer questions.

“Everything we have created and learned about coffee has led us to this moment,” Howard Schultz, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Starbucks, is quoted as saying on the company website. “The Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting room is a multi-sensory experience that will transform the future of specialty coffee. We plan to take this super premium experience to cities around the world, elevating the Starbucks experience not only through these stores but across our entire business.”

Ms. Brandes said the high-end cafe will offer the company’s more exclusive coffees not offered in more typical stores.

For the Starbucks-branded express-type stores, the idea is that locals won’t have to wait behind tourists just to grab a coffee.

At the grab-and-go locations, the menu will be streamlined with only hot and cold coffee and simple fare like pastries, with no seating. The brokers are on the hunt for express store spaces ranging from 400 to 500 square feet, Ms. Brandes said.

“Its flagship will be in Midtown Manhattan,” the broker said.

The company is going to test out the model. If successful, the plan is to eventually have several other express locations in the borough.