The atmosphere at the Starbucks on North Seventh Street in the trendy Brooklyn neighborhood Williamsburg was soothing but purposeful on a recent morning. Customers dressed in button-down shirts and jeans with briefcases slung over their shoulders sipped on foamy cappuccinos and iced lattes as they swiftly exited the coffee shop, hurrying to work. Others sat quietly on the numerous bar stools throughout the restaurant, hunched over newspapers and laptops, keeping to themselves. But at this particular Starbucks location, the mellow mood could very likely change after the coffee chain begins serving alcohol this week.
As Starbucks continues to branch out from coffee by offering beer, wine and more food options, its move toward becoming a full-service cafe has raised questions about whether the chain is running out of ways to expand. Customers have so far responded positively to Starbucks’ sweeping changes, but that could soon shift as the company runs out of new fans to win over. The latest push to offer wine and beer could particularly turn off loyal customers worried that their sacred workspace will become more boisterous and further dilute Starbucks’ brand.