Boozing at ‘bucks to shift coffeeshop atmosphere

Having already taken command of the morning, Starbucks now intends to grab the attention of the evening customers after it was announced that a beer and wine menu would now be available with appetizers and other small food items after 4 p.m.       

According to The Huffington Post, the Starbucks located at 601 N. Martingale Rd. in Schaumburg, Ill. was the first to start serving alcohol along with the Starbucks in the Burr Ridge Village Center. Five to seven Chicago Starbucks locations will add alcohol to their menu by the end of 2012.       

From a student’s perspective, this business move might seem like a great decision;  countless students and young adults flock into various Starbucks locations daily to get their caffeine fix to begin the day.  Soon, several Starbucks in Chicago will also be able to provide them alcohol. 

While adding alcohol to the menu might be good for business, it may not be a good for the welfare of Starbucks’ customers. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 79,000 people each year die from excessive alcohol use. Alcohol continues to be a problem year after year for the United States, yet we still have companies trying to incorporate these beverages to attract more customers.

Alcohol in itself is not the only concern that coffee-goers have for this multi-billion dollar corporation.

“Starbucks already dominates the coffee industry, I don’t see why they need to expand any further than they already have,” said Charlie Wynne, a DePaul student and daily coffee drinker.

Not only will this expansion enlarge Starbucks’ target audience, but it will take away from other local businesses in the area.  A small-time business cannot even dream of keeping up with the convenience and power that Starbucks holds.  In such harsh economic times, we as a community should be focusing on keeping small businesses around and flourishing rather than trying to increase the strength of the elite companies standing alongside local owners.

One can’t help but feel a shift in the atmosphere of Starbucks with the addition of alcoholic beverages and other meals.  The once relaxing and calm setting may be transformed into a social arena where tired clients come to drink off the pains of the harsh workday. A student-friendly environment for homework doing and studying might deteriorate due to these additions.

At the end of the day, the introduction of alcohol into the Starbucks equation takes away from the calm, relaxed setting that was created in the first place.  Alcohol invites a more social atmosphere and creates an increasingly upbeat place. New and improved business strategies are understandable, but with alcohol now included, the community can only fall farther from the roots of the Starbucks Corporation.