Baristas at some Starbucks coffee shops are about to find their jobs become a little more like bar work, thanks to an interesting move on the part of the brand.
Stansted Airport's Starbucks, which SSP UK co-operates, has just become the first to launch Starbucks Evenings.
Already a feature in some US Starbucks locations, this initiative involves offering beer and wine on sale to customers, as well as sharable snacks, both cold and hot, and various meals.
Starbucks' usual food and beverages, which includes various paninis to eat and, of course, many different coffee drinks, will be on sale in the evenings, too. Spirits are not included in the Starbucks Evenings initiative.
It's not just Stansted Airport either, Starbucks is planning to bring the evening activity to other stores as well. In the US the activity is in place at 30 stores at the moment, including outlets in Chicago and Seattle, as well as several other places.
The food involved in Starbucks Evenings includes truffle macaroni and cheese, braised British Beef and prawn skewers among other things – an appealing menu and quite different from what British customers are usually presented with in Starbucks shops.
Starbucks Evenings will begin at 4pm daily, although this may vary by location.
"We are delighted to launch the first Evenings Programme in the UK," said Starbucks EMEA vp of marketing and category, Ian Cranna.
"Providing a welcoming coffeehouse environment has always been our focus and now we can offer something new for the evening too."
In the UK, Starbucks' competitors include Caffe Nero and the Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee, which the Project Cafe15 report from Allegra recently gave the title of the UK's Favourite Coffee Shop brand, following consumer research.
The same report showed that the coffee shop market here saw turnover increase 10.7 per cent last year, and sales up 11.9 per cent.