Full bar development for Starbucks Reserve® Roastery

Delivering a full suite of services makes a showstopping coffee destination

After launching their first Starbucks Reserve® Roastery in Seattle, Starbucks® sought to open 5 more across the globe. With a full variety of espresso-based coffee drinks and food items already on the menu, Starbucks wanted their new flagship locations to be a curated experience where coffee and tea were integrated into a full cocktail menu.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery_Chicago_Exterior Design Rendering
A rendering of the world’s-largest Starbucks | Starbucks [Official Rendering]

Starting in Milan, New York City and then Tokyo, a team of the most up-and-coming mixologists at Menu Collective began drink development. The concept development journey started with multiple site visits and research in each of the global markets to understand local consumer expectations of the marriage between Starbucks and cocktails. Unique city cultures inspired exclusive cocktails for each city. Architecture in Italy drove the drink development in Milan. The seasonality in Japan contributed to cocktails in Tokyo.

Next, a high-level internal tasting of 30 to 50 cocktails was conducted to narrow down to menu-worthy winners. The result was a global superset of innovative signature cocktails that would appear on every Starbucks Reserve Roastery bar menu, as well as specific regional drinks exclusive to each global city.

After Milan, New York City, and Tokyo, the Menu Collective team was asked to repeat the success in Chicago. Using the history of the drinking culture in Chicago as inspiration, the bar menu for the Chicago Reserve Roastery was developed.

But the beverage expertise of Menu Collective was leveraged beyond just beverage development. The team helped with the bar design and layout of the new Chicago location. Starbucks had designers design the bar. Then, Menu Collective added functionality to it. Beautiful architectural design met functional operational efficiency.

Finally in Chicago, the Menu Collective team conducted week-long training sessions with the staff to make baristas into bartenders. They were trained, not only to create the drinks, but to tell the story of the cocktail, and its reason for being.

After launches in Milan, New York City, Tokyo and Chicago, the original Seattle Starbucks Reserve Roastery was retrofitted with a bar menu. And now, there are plans to expand Starbucks Reserve Roastery outlets in suburban areas in the U.S.