Starbucks Express Debuts

Starbucks has opened the pilot store for Starbucks Express in Lower Manhattan.

In case you want coffee without the ambient sound of people typing, or diehard fans of capitalism crowing about the stolidity of the New York Stock Exchange, it’s a pared-down shop. There are no tables, no blenders to make time-consuming Frappuccinos, and an assembly line POS system that shaves precious seconds off the re-heating of a sandwich. This Starbucks Express caters to people who want a cup of coffee, and want it now, and it’s located very near to multiple transit lines.

[jump] And it’s only 530 square feet, a fraction of the size of a standard Starbucks. While astronomical rents have put downward pressure on space in cities nationwide, already-dense places like Manhattan and San Francisco feel it harder. Throw in huge pedestrian traffic and places like the Embarcadero and Powell Street seem ripe for a Starbucks Express of their own.

It was announced at the 2015 shareholders’ meeting that Starbucks “will be introducing a new smaller footprint with a select range of products; take away only –Express format – focused on meeting the demands of customers in urban locations during the morning peak. This new format will open up new doors in places we haven’t been able to go before.”

Starbucks aims to have four Express stores open by the end of 2015, but a spokesperson told SF Weekly that all four will be located in NYC, and “take what we learn from this pilot to consider additional locations in the future.” If it works, we might get even more green mermaids. Stay tuned, San Francisco.

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