Starbucks stores too samey admits UK chief ahead of shake-up

LONDON - Starbucks' UK managing director has admitted the coffee chain has made a mistake in using the same corporate template for all of its 750 UK stores.

Darcy Willson-Rymer, Starbucks managing director for the UK and Ireland, said the chain has put a little too much process into its UK stores while building up the 750-store chain.

As a result Starbucks is set to ditch its distinctive beige and green store design. They will be replaced with brighter colours and more focus on local identity.

Speaking to the Independent, Willson-Rymer, who joined Starbucks in August, also said the company needed to pay more attention to its food offering to reflect changing tastes. As a result it is planning to trial less fattening snacks such as porridge and carrot sticks.

Willson-Rymer said: "The thing that needs to be the same in every store is the latte, the cappuccino, the product and the culture of coffee tastings and knowledge."

Willson-Rymer's plans dovetail neatly with trials in Starbucks home market where it is trialling non-branded stores in Seattle.

The trial stores use the address of the cafe in its branding, for example one is called 15th Street Coffee and Tea, while the products are also non-branded. One of the stores will feature live music and poetry readings.

Senior vice-president for Starbucks Tim Pfeiffer said the stores aimed to reflect the local community more than the chain’s regular stores.