Five things we can learn from the Starbucks Roastery

After visiting the original (and first ever) Starbucks Coffee House at Pike Place, Seattle, I walked nine blocks down the road (and into the future) to visit the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. It’s a perfect example of how to create a flagship that embodies your brand and also delivers an experience that will keep people coming back again and again. Here’s a few highlights from the experience…


From the moment you push (reassuringly hard) on the solid wood door, you get a sense of just how well made everything is before you’re inside. And once you are, you find yourself admiring everything the building has to offer. From the (giant) hand-hammered copper cooling casks and connected piping, through to the endless various solid wood surfaces, stunning fireplace… Actually, the list is far too long to start. It’s one thing to talk about how good your product is, but allowing people to feel it through everything elevates the experience to another level.


You may go for the great coffee, but here you’re immersed in experiencing everything that goes into what makes it great. From the expertise of the people who share their knowledge while creating your drink in a number of theatrical ways (try a coffee made with a siphon), through to seeing (and smelling) the coffee being roasted and transported through pipes in a Willy Wonka fashion. It really makes you appreciate your (hand-crafted) order that little bit more.


Adding your name to your cup when making a coffee is something Starbucks are known for in every coffeehouse. However, there’s no cardboard cups here. Instead, your name is asked, remembered and called out when your coffee is ready.

And with such an array of furniture and seating in different (but complementing) styles, There’s also an opportunity for me to personalise my experience by choosing the right environment for me to relax / catch up on emails / finish that novel.


You’ll not only find Starbucks talking about themselves and coffee, but they also share some interesting collaborations with others who share their philosophy and passion for quality, hand-made craftsmanship. In their shop, you’ll find many display cabinets that feature exclusive art, music and jewellery. All beautifully made and all of them telling a story about their creator. Not only does this make it an interesting space to browse and learn, but you also find it hard to not buy more than a coffee.


Aside from the entire experience being unique, Starbucks also offer exclusive products you can’t get anywhere else. Whether that’s a beautifully crafted apron, a hipster bicycle complete with cold-brew flask or some rare, small-batch coffee brews – which you can also get an online subscription to. As the Roastery isn’t likely to be an every day coffeehouse visit (unless you have one on your doorstep) they really do give you chance to mark your trip with getting something unusual, but very much connected to quality and coffee.

The Roastery doesn’t rely on quick promotions or tactics to get you in store. Instead, it uses the power of branding and selling together to create something worthy of your time and money. It’s way more than just about the coffee. Here, you’re buying into the experience of coffee and understanding what the brand is all about by feeling what they stand for. There’s also plenty of opportunity to buy some of that experience to take home too. So next time you wonder what will get people in-store, start with what’s inside – get that right and people will naturally want to visit, share and buy.