Starbucks Soda Next? Made-to-Order Fizzio Is Coming, So's Lunch

Friday, 25 Apr 2014 08:37 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Is Starbucks soda the next big thing? Among the new products being introduced by the coffee chain giant is made-to-order Fizzio soda, which will available at 3,000 U.S. locations by years end.

Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead revealed in a conference call with reporters this week that Starbucks would be refining its lunch options later in the year and that would include carbonated beverages.

Starbucks revealed last summer it had been testing three flavors of soda in Atlanta and Austin – Lemon Ale, Original Ginger Ale and Spiced Root Beer. It is also was giving customers at those locations the option to carbonate other drinks, such as iced tea and iced coffee, at no extra charge, according to NBC News.

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According to Alstead, the revamped lunch options would hopefully inspire customers to visit their local Starbucks during hours they normally wouldn't.

"Oh, tweaks are always happening," Alstead added.

In addition to menu revisions, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said during another conference call that the gourmet coffee chain would be expanding operations over the next year, with a planned addition of 1,500 in 2014, 600 of which would be in the United States, where there are presently more than 11,000 cafes,  The Associated Press reported.

"We are significantly under-stored in many markets, including North America," Schultz said, adding that at least some of those new stores would be drive-thru locations.

While other fast food companies have seen their sales decline in recent months, which in part has been blamed on the harsh winter, Starbucks has experienced growth, earning $427 million, or 56 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2014. In comparison, Starbucks earned $390.4 million for the same time period one year prior.

In addition to increased sales in the U.S. during the quarter, sales at established locations rose 6 percent in the unit encompassing Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where Starbucks has struggled to compete against local cafes. The figure rose 7 percent in Asia, the AP noted.

On news of the increased revenue and positive forecast, Starbucks' stock price rose to $72.18 – an increase of $1.09 – in after hours trading Thursday. Starbucks presently has more than 20,000 locations globally.

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