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It seems to me that the role of the coffee house, and it must be said, Starbucks in particular given its reach, in the contemporary urban setting is becoming clearer. Starbucks provides time-place alignment in busy, moving lives: in other words it provides ‘on-demand place’. It provides a place which is convenient at the time that it is required. This may be for downtime (a place to spend time relaxing), connect-time (a place to spend time connecting to the network), rendezvous time (a place to spend time with others), work-time (a place to spend time working). A colleague recently described Starbucks to me as his mobile office when he was on the road. It is not unusual to see job interviews take place there.
Starbucks has recently been in the news because of its exclusive deal with Bob Dylan for sale of his latest album. The sale of music seems a natural for Starbucks and its clientele. So, the prediction? Within a small number of years Starbucks will be selling individual tracks in a way that can be easily loaded onto customers’ devices when they visit the stores.
Note: of course, as a colleague points out, one ought not overlook the primary role of providing ‘on-demand’ coffee 😉