Starbucks eyes drive-thru in UK expansion

Starbucks is preparing an expansion drive that will see it open more than 300 new outlets in the UK.

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The expansion will include more than 200 drive-thru stores opening in the next five years and the addition of 5,000 new staff.

Starbucks is developing a new drive-thru concept store and hopes to become the market leader in drive-thru convenience coffee outlets. It currently has nine drive-thru outlets, the first of which opened in 2008.

Rival Costa Coffee, Marketing Week Engage Awards’ Brand of the Year, already has a handful of drive-thru coffee houses connected to traditional stores and plans to grow the number of outlets it has.

Starbucks says its growth plans “reflect the continuing trend for better coffee in the UK, which means that customers now want the best coffee wherever they are, rather than just as a high street treat”.

The majority of the new drive-thru stores will be operated under licence by petrol station retail group Euro Garages.

Starbucks opened 35 motorway service station outlets last year as part of its ongoing efforts to extend its reach. It also offers Starbucks on trains and planes and introduced its Via “at home” instant coffee in 2010.

Kris Engskov, managing director of Starbucks UK and Ireland, says: “Customers told us that they now expect the best possible coffee wherever they are and the success of our first drive-thru stores shows that this is a huge opportunity.”

Starbucks introduced a mobile payment app last week to allow customers to pay for purchases via the Starbucks iPhone app.

It is currently running a Christmas promotion offering daily deals to entice Christmas shoppers into stores.

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