With New Roastery, Starbucks Wants to be the 'Willy Wonka of Coffee'


Secret beverages, golden tickets in the form of 10 karat Starbucks Cards and a mega-location that showcases how coffee is made, Starbucks's CEO Howard Schultz is taking business lessons from Willy Wonka.

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On Thursday, Starbucks announced the opening of the first Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle. Every cup of coffee sold at the Roastery is brewed on site in the massive 15,000 square foot location, providing a behind-the-scenes look of the coffee giant's roasting process.

"This is a real-life Willy Wonka experience with coffee as the heart and soul, where customers will see coffee being moved through the roasting process right before their eyes," Liz Muller, Starbucks's vice president of Concept Design, said in a statement.

In addition to bringing in sales and providing a new, classier shopping experience, the Roastery locations will also allow Starbucks to expand its Reserve coffee line. Soon, the line will be sold at 1,500 locations globally.

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At Starbucks's biennial investor meeting on Thursday, Schultz said he wanted to create a new, "super-premium" brand within Starbucks with the Roastery and Starbucks Reserve. 

"Let's take [customers] on a magic carpet ride, and it will create a halo on everything Starbucks," Schultz said on the decision to open the Roastery. 

The Seattle Roastery is the first of at least 100 to come. New locations are planned to open in Chicago, Los Angles, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C., as well as one in Asia in 2016.

Another Wonka-like plan discussed in the investors meeting includes the Starbucks version of the "golden ticket:" the 10 karat gold Starbucks for life cards. The cards will be randomly awarded to 14 customers who enter into a contest by making a Starbuck purchase with a gift card or through the company's mobile app. It's no chocolate factory, but it’s still a pretty sweet deal. 

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