Pat Nolan Blog

Q: When is a pub not a pub? A: Today!

The notion of pubs becoming coffee houses - and whatever else people want them to be - should be no more alien to today’s publican than selling alcohol would be to Starbucks - hold on a minute, though, Starbucks has already begun test-marketing the selling of alcohol in some of its US outlets!

Just like everyone else, the world’s biggest coffee shop has to fight global recession and attract custom wherever it can and it has therefore focused on attracting in evening trade through an extended menu and in some cases, offering beer and wine.

Starbucks always looked more of a cosy pub than a coffee shop to me – and it even outdid some pubs in terms of comfortable decor – so it’s no surprise to hear its Senior Vice President of US Operations Clarice Turner state in uniquely American market-speak, “As our customers transition from work to home, many are looking for a warm and inviting place to unwind and connect with the people they care about”. Hey, wait a minute, that’s the pub’s job!

But nothing is sacred and so pubs must look to expand into other areas of trade too.
Burger King has realised this and now offers beer at its Whopper Bar restaurants.
You have been warned!

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