Starbucks location strategy is a page out of the Apple playbook



Follow us

Our book

Brand Toolkit

The past few years, Starbucks has been investing in beautiful, iconic locations around the world, straight out of the Apple store locations playbook. They have seen how consumers are drawn to iconic Apple stores around the world, and they want to create the same energy. The latest Starbucks store on Chicago’s magnificent mile looks gorgeous and will become a must-see draw for those who love the brand. Moreover, these locations provide a feel of an “art studio” more so than a cafe, as the walls are laced with collections of art work.

About five years ago, I was on one of those double-decker bus tour of NYC with my kids. We passed by where John Lennon was shot, and about 5 people stood up and took a photo. Then, we passed by Apple’s 5th Avenue store and the entire bus stood up and took a photo. Over the last decade, Apple has created iconic stores around the world that have become a tourist draw. Now, Starbucks location strategy is stealing a page from the Apple playbook.

The world’s largest Starbucks opened on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile will overtake the recently opened Toyko Reserve Roastery as Starbucks’ biggest store. It is the sixth Roastery in the world, following locations in Seattle, Shanghai, New York City, Milan, and Tokyo. These locations will make brand fans swoon, get out their phones and post all over social media. This will make those fans book a trip to Chicago.  

New Starbucks in Chicago

The new Starbucks is four floors, 43,000 square feet and employs over 200 people. There are exclusive drinks “inspired by the culture and traditions of Chicago.” These locations keep getting bigger. Tokyo is 32,000 square feet. Shanghai is 30,000. And the New York City location is 23,000 square feet.

Inside the new Starbucks location in NYC

To illustrate, use the video dials to view, expand or adjust sound. 

Inside Starbucks Shanghai location

To illustrate, use the video dials to view, expand or adjust sound. 

Chicago Roastery

Starbucks Chicago Roastery spans five floors and 35,000-square-feet making it the company’s largest retail experience. In addition, each floor unveils a new experience, featuring expansive menus of coffee and tea beverages and delectable food selections. 

To illustrate, click on the photo to zoom in. 

Brand templates for retail brands

Elevate your brand strategy with our powerful templates.

Our brand toolkit for B2B brands is our most comprehensive template helps you communicate your brand plans, brand positioning, business review and creative briefs.

Our brand plan template  offers slides for vision, purpose, analysis, key issues, strategies, and execution plans, ensuring a thorough approach to your brand’s development. The brand positioning template guides you through defining your target profile, crafting a brand positioning statement, and developing a unique brand idea, concept, values, story, credo, and creative brief. Finally, our business review template provides slides for in-depth analysis of the marketplace, customers, competitors, channels, and your brand.

Choose the right template for your business needs

Tokyo Roastery

Starbucks Tokyo Roastery is designed to create an enchanting, immersive coffee and retail experience that demonstrates Japan’s deep cultural appreciation of quality, craft and service. In the heart of one of Japan’s most popular travel destinations, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo is a tribute to the natural beauty of Japan.

To illustrate, click on the photo to zoom in. 

New York City Roastery

Starbucks Reserve Roastery New York: In December 2018, Starbucks opened the New York Roastery bringing our passion for coffee to the most energetic city in the world. Located in the Meatpacking District and inspired by the history of manufacturing in the neighborhood.

To illustrate, click on the photo to zoom in. 

Milan Roastery

Starbucks Milan Roastery opened inside the historic Postal building in Piazza Cordusio — only streets away from the iconic landmarks of Duomo di Milano, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Teatro alla Scala as the company’s first location in Italy. 

To illustrate, click on the photo to zoom in. 

Shanghai Roastery

Starbucks Shanghai Roastery: Opened as the second Roastery in December 2017, it brought one of our most theatrical experiences to one of the world’s most vibrant cities. Notably, the 30,000-square-foot Starbucks Roastery introduces visitors to a fully immersive coffee wonderland. 

To illustrate, click on the photo to zoom in. 

The Seattle Roastery

Starbucks Seattle Roastery: In December 2014, Starbucks opened its first-ever Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Located just nine blocks from the original Pike Place Store, the Seattle Roastery is an immersive expression of a passion for coffee and invites customers to experience coffee from bean to your cup. It is the fulfillment of a decade-long dream — a homage to our relentless pursuit of coffee innovation that creates for our customers the most immersive, sensory demonstration of how we source, roast and craft the finest coffee from around the world.

To illustrate, click on the photo to zoom in. 

The Starbucks experience

Delivering on the Starbucks experience led brand

When the consumer experience is your brand’s lead strength, the strategy and organization should focus on creating a link between your culture and your brand. Your people are your product. Use your brand purpose (“Why you do what you do”) and brand values to inspire and guide the service behaviors of your people. Then build a culture and organization with the right people who can deliver incredible experiences. 

Experience-led brands need to be patient with how fast they build the brand. The quick mass media approach might not be as fast or efficient. The most effective communication tools for consumer experience-led brands include word of mouth, earned media, social media, online consumer reviews, the voice of key influencers, and consumer testimonials. These brands can make a mistake if they put too much emphasis on price, which can diminish the perceived consumer experience. 

To illustrate, click on the photo to zoom in. 

The five elements of strategic thinking allows Starbucks to build an amazing consumer experience

1. Set a vision of what you want

Starbucks wished to become a cherished favorite moment of the day. The question was how to build smartly around the consumer experience to drive significant growth in same-store sales.

2. Invest resources in a strategic program

They have a strong bond with their consumers, by creating an amazing consumer experience supported by a phenomenal team of employees. They wanted to bring this culture to the forefront of the consumer experience. In addition, these new stores will bring this experience to a new level, rewarding the most ardent brand fans around the world. 

3. Focus on an identified opportunity

In 2008, Starbucks refocused to shift the coffee ritual beyond mornings. It wanted to build an all-day gathering place. The company broadened their portfolio around coffee by adding desserts, snacks, and sandwiches. They saw an opportunity in its under-utilized retail locations, which remained relatively empty after 11 a.m. The company wanted the broader portfolio to boost lunch and dinner sales, and earn a higher share of the consumer’s wallet and higher same-store sales. Watching what Apple has done on locations, Starbucks wants to create a heightened experience that consumers will share with their network of friends. 

4. Leverage a breakthrough market impact

Back in 2008, Starbucks closed every store for a day to refocus on its service, then built a broader portfolio around coffee. The company successfully reconnected with most loyal Starbucks fans. It was able to turn the morning coffee routine into an all-day life ritual, allowing Starbucks to focus on becoming a consumer experience brand, and a gathering place to savor moments with friends and colleagues. With six Reserve Roastery locations, each bigger than the other, they are creating a gathering location for the world’s biggest brand fans. They clearly focused on growth in Asia, building a new location every 19 hours. This Shanghai location will certainly be a draw for every tourist coming to the city. Put it on your list. 

5. Performance result that pays back

No longer seen as a destination just for morning coffee, but rather an escape at any point in the day, Starbucks saw double-digit growth for five straight years. Meanwhile, the stock price increased 10-fold over that period, even double what it was a year ago. In conclusion, early results from these locations show that same day sales are equal to what a normal Starbucks does in a week. 

Take your brand knowledge to new heights with our Beloved Brands playbook

Beloved Brands is a comprehensive guide that covers the fundamentals of brand management. It goes deep on strategic thinking, brand positioning, brand plan development, advertising decisions, media planning, marketing analytics, and the brand financials. This is an opportunity to build your marketing skills to help your career. And, it will provide you with the roadmap for driving growth on your brand. 

Beloved Brands book for marketers

Marketers see Beloved Brands playbook as a go-to resource, as they keep it within arm’s reach for any new project. We are thrilled to see that it has received a 5-star rating from nearly 90% of Amazon reviewers. Additionally, we have also created playbooks for B2B Brands and Healthcare Brands, catering to specific industries.

Starbucks Case Study

Read our Starbucks comeback story: The time they lost their focus

Back in 2008, Starbucks had lost focus of who it was. Notably, sales plummeted, and the stock price had fallen from $37 to $7.83. And, the company had to cut 18,000 jobs and close 977 stores. The Starbucks brand was in a complete free fall. Would it be yet another trendy brand to fade off into the sunset?

starbucks case study

Marketing Excellence

We empower the ambitious to achieve the extraordinary.

Without a doubt, our role at Beloved Brands is to help the ambitious marketers who are trying to improve their marketing skills. Most importantly, we will prepare you so you can reach your full potential in your career. You will learn about strategic thinking, brand positioning, brand plans, marketing execution, and marketing analytics. As well, we provide a suite of marketing tools, templates that will make it easier to do your job, processes that you can follow, and provocative thoughts to trigger your thinking. 

Have you gone through an assessment of the marketing skills of your team? Take a look below:

The fundamentals of marketing matter.

Our Beloved Brands marketing training programs cover different streams to suit the type of marketer you are. For instance, our marketing training covers consumer marketing, B2B marketing, and Healthcare marketing. 

The marketing fundamentals that we show in this article are part of what we use in our marketing training programs. Ambitious marketers will learn about strategic thinking, brand positioning, brand plans, marketing execution, writing creative briefs, advertising decision-making, marketing analytics, and marketing finance

Importantly, when you invest in our marketing training program, you will help your team gain the marketing skills they need to succeed. Without a doubt, you will see your people make smarter decisions and produce exceptional work that drives business growth. 

Finally, I wrote our Beloved Brands playbook to help you build a brand that your consumers will love. If you are a B2B marketer, try our B2B Brands playbook. And, if you are a Healthcare Marketer, try our Healthcare Brands playbook.

We designed our brand templates to make it easier for you to do your job.

Moreover, we provide brand templates that help you run your brand. For instance, you can find templates for marketing plans, brand positioning, creative briefs, and business reviews. Altogether, we offer brand toolkits with all the presentation slides you need. 

Beloved Brands video

Everything a Marketing must know about.

Importantly, Brand leaders need to know how to think, define, plan, execute and analyze with the best of them. Moreover, while the brand leaders don’t really know how to do anything, they are looked upon to make every decision. Have a look at our five minute video on everything a marketer must know. To read more, click on this link: Everything.

To view, use the ▶️ controls to play or volume buttons 

If you are looking to make your marketing team smarter, we can help. To get started, email Graham Robertson at [email protected]

Beloved Brands logo

Graham Robertson

Email us

Call us

Follow us

Our book

Brand Toolkit

Beloved Brands Marketing Training Video

Elevate your team’s performance with our marketing training. The smarter they are, the greater your brand growth will be.

Our Best Posts for Beloved Brands blog

Click to read more

Sample Chapter of Beloved Brands

Use the X for full view and > to turn to the next page


The cheat code for Brand Managers

It is without a doubt, the most practical book for those who want to follow brand management that I have ever read in my life! Beloved Brands is written by a real, experienced marketeer for marketers. 


I have Brand Love for Beloved Brands!

As a 24-year marketing veteran at a Fortune 100 company, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about building brands. Graham has an amazing gift of bringing to life the critical elements of brand building and management in a delightful, easy-to-understand way. 


Beloved Brands is a phenomenal book

I know other brand managers who have used this to review their business and create their annual brand plans. Undeniably, Beloved Brands is phenomenal in concept and execution. Highly recommend.

Brand Toolkits

Brand Case Studies

As a marketing professional, you can learn from what some of the best brands have been doing. We use case studies to showcase the fundamentals of marketing.

Video on our Beloved Brands Mini MBA

Our video lessons

Everything a marketer must know how to do

To view, use arrows or click to go to YouTube.

How to build your brand positioning

To view, use arrows or click to go to YouTube.

Beloved Brands graham robertson

Contact Information

Graham Robertson

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 416–885–3911

Search our site for any marketing topic

M a r k e t i n g    B o o k

beloved brands

the playbook for how to create a brand your consumers will love

With our Beloved Brands playbook, you will learn to think strategically, define your brand positioning, write a marketing plan, make execution decisions, and analyze your brand. Our readers tell us they reach for Beloved Brands as a reference tool to help them with the day-to-day management of their brand. We are proud that 89% of online reviewers have rated Beloved Brands a 5-star. As a result, Beloved Brands has been a #1 bestseller in brand management. We also have the B2B Brands playbook and our Healthcare Brands playbook

Marketing Training

The smarter your team, the better the results you will see!

As a marketing team leader, you know that your team’s success is essential for your company’s growth. Our Beloved Brands marketing training gives your team the skills they need to make strategic decisions, produce exceptional work, and drive business growth. They will learn to define brand positioning, write effective plans, improve brief writing, make informed execution decisions, and analyze their brand’s performance.

We have designed our marketing training program to build the fundamental skills to help your team reach their full potential. We will work with your team to help them learn to take on Strategic Thinking, Brand Positioning, Marketing Planning, Marketing Execution, and Brand Analytics. 

Brand Toolkit
Beloved Brands Popup
Beloved Brands Mini MBA