Starbucks Corporation (Nasdaq:SBUX), through its Japanese subsidiary, seems to be getting into performance art in its latest gimmick to attract Japanese consumers by indulging their seemingly endless attraction to the novel; this time in the form of books used to place coffee orders.
In Tokyo's tony Omotesando district, the local arm of the Seattle-based café giant has opened up its first pop-up store. It features a clean design, a pared down menu and a curved wall lined with books. Customers order one of nine espresso-based drinks by removing the book with the selected menu item printed on the binder and giving it to the barista to place the order. The store is located in a renovated events space.
The sleek, mini Starbucks and its unusually involved ordering process were designed by Tokyo-based design firm nendo. It will be open until the end of the month in an attempt not to draw new customers but rather to strengthen its bond with loyalists.
"More so than attracting new customers, we're aiming to strengthen communication with our core customers," Norio Adachi, corporate affairs director at Starbucks Japan, told the Wall St. Journal's JapanRealTime.
Starbucks Coffee Japan, Ltd. has the highest annual sales in Japan for any coffee chain, reporting $696 million in revenue in the fiscal half ended March 31. Its next half-year cycle ends Sept. 30, the day the pop-up store is scheduled to shut down. The company is a joint venture between Starbucks Corporation and Tokyo's Sazaby League Ltd.
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The pop-up café concept is not new; New York, San Francisco and several European cities have seen private or publicly-sponsored temporary café spots in recent years. But this marks the first time a retail café chain has adopted the concept as a marketing tool.