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Brands & Branding and Private Labels Case Study

Case Title:

Starbucks' Drive-through Windows: Business Sense vs Brand Dilemmas

Publication Year : 2006

Authors: Priyanka Ramgopal, Sauvik Dhar

Industry: Retailing


Case Code: BBP0067

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Over the years Starbucks has built an upscale image by offering its customers a different ambience in its stores. In order to increase its customer base, Starbucks forayed into drive-through windows from 2004 onwards. Although some customers favoured drive-throughs, a few observed that the drive-throughs could impact negatively on the upscale image of Starbucks. Analysts also questioned whether Starbucks, that has painstakingly built its brand image, would be able to sustain its upscale brand-image through the drive-through window format. A few were also concerned about the drive-through format cannibalising the traditional outlets.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand how over the years Starbucks has cultivated its upscale brand image
  • To discuss the factors that have enabled Starbucks to develop an upscale brand image
  • To discuss the reasons that prompted Starbucks to establish drive-through windows in its outlets
  • To debate whether the drive-through format would have a negative implication on the upscale brand image of Starbucks
  • To debate whether the drive through format would result in cannibalising sales from its traditional outlets.

Keywords : Marketing Strategies Case Study, Starbucks, Drive-through window, Brand image, Howard Schultz, Customer friendly approach, Expansion, Brand value, Speciality coffee shop, Store ambience, Third place, Hear music, Affluent customers

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