Starbucks Puts Premium Coffee in the Fast Lane with First Drive-Thru-Only Store from Seattle’s Best Coffee

Starbucks Puts Premium Coffee in the Fast Lane with First Drive-Thru-Only Store from Seattle's Best Coffee

Seattle’s Best Coffee, part of Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX), today unveils the future of its retail business, a revolutionary new small footprint drive-thru and walk-up only store built for speed. Standing at less than 600 square feet, which is 65 percent smaller than its previous store, the mini store represents a completely transformed retail strategy for the brand. With this new concept, Seattle’s Best Coffee is appealing to a large and growing audience of customers who are increasingly getting their coffee on-the-go. According to NPD Group, last year 12.4 billion visits were made through drive-thrus, a two percent increase over the prior year.1The first store debuts in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood and will roll out in more markets beginning in 2013.

“Customers are demanding better coffee everywhere they go and we believe we’ve cracked the code on how to deliver a premium cup of coffee in the fast lane at just the right price,” said Jim McDermet, senior vice president and general manager, Seattle’s Best Coffee. “We have completely overhauled our store concept both inside and out. Our drive-thru store features a new menu of affordable, delicious, car-friendly beverages and food for customers who need a one-stop destination without any compromises, any time of the day.”

The new menu line-up was finalized after launching a learning lab in the Chicago area earlier this year. Based on customer feedback, new signature food items and value-forward combo meals have been added. With equal focus on coffee drinks and all-day-long food items, the menu is unlike anything available in the current marketplace.

New Menu Delivers Fast, Friendly and Delicious Value

The new menu offers dessert-inspired coffee drinks such as Birthday Cake Lattes, Caramel Candy Lattes and S’mores Mochas that are served up hot, iced or frozen. Brewed coffee gets upgraded to a fully customized experience, offering either original or dark blend and free flavored creamers. The menu also features traditional coffeehouse standards like lattes and mochas. Delivering on the one-stop-shopping promise, customers will see food options across any day-part, offered all day long. These include hearty egg breakfast sandwiches on muffins or biscuits with sausage, ham or cheese; pretzel melts stuffed with ham & cheese, turkey & provolone or spinach & feta and an array of sweet and savory handheld “Anytime Pies,” including Spicy Mac ‘N’ Cheese, Cheesy Egg & Potato and Caramel Apple.

Value Combos with ‘Any Size Coffee’

With the launch of the new store, Seattle’s Best Coffee begins rolling out a new approach to value with four combo meals. Each easy-to-order combo includes a car-friendly food item and coffee, ideal for customers seeking quality, but who are pressed for time. Combos include:

  • Any Breakfast Sandwich and any size coffee for $3.49
  • Any Pretzel Melt and any size soda for $4.29
  • Any Pie and any size coffee for $2.99
  • Oatmeal and any size coffee for $2.79

Breakthrough Design Enables Speed at Every Turn

The small footprint design and LEAN station layouts allows the baristas to assemble orders more efficiently, enabling speed of service that matches industry drive-thru expectations. The small design unlocks new options for retail growth in small, underutilized spaces. In Seattle’s SODO neighborhood, the drive-thru is in a highly visible, easily accessible location on a 5,400-square foot parcel of land at the edge of a retail center that previously was viewed as not able to be developed. The pedestrian- and bike-friendly walk-up window is adjacent to the sidewalk.

The building features a prominent red exterior and tall, eye-catching facade making it easily identifiable from the road. Once drivers approach the store, the window-wrapped design allows customers to see their order being made by Seattle’s Best Coffee baristas. The menu layout also enables ease of ordering with large product images and line pricing – every like beverage is exactly the same price whether ordered hot, iced or frozen.

The new store is in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood on 2990 4th Avenue, a main access point for commuters to downtown Seattle. The Seattle’s Best Coffee SODO Gateway Drive-Thru is open Monday – Friday from 5:00 a.m. until 9:30 p.m., Saturday from 6:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. and Sunday from 6:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Seattle’s Best Coffee LLC has been roasting premium coffee since 1970 and today roasts more than 20 million pounds of coffee every year and millions of cups of our coffee are served every day. A freshly-brewed cup of Seattle’s Best Coffee is currently available in more than 50,000 locations including cafes, college campuses, restaurants, hotels, airlines, cruise ships, grocery stores and movie theatres. Seattle’s Best Coffee is a featured brand within Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX). For more information, please visit Seattle’s Best Coffee online at, become a member of the coffee community at or follow Seattle’s Best Coffee on Pinterest for unique coffee inspiration at

1 NPD Group, May 2012,