Starbucks Houston

There have been a few stories that have come out recently saying that Starbucks will begin selling beer and wine at locations in several major US markets by the end of 2012.  Starbucks began testing the concept in some of it's Seattle home based locations back in late 2011, and is planning on implementing the sale of beer and wine in cities like Atlanta, Chicago, and a few cities in Southern California soon.  Word has it that they will start testing the concept in 4-6 locations in each of those markets and go from there.  Seems as if Starbucks is attempting to become more of a true cafe, serving coffee, tea, beer, wine, to go along with pastries and Panini's. There are no immediate plans to expand the concept into any of the major Texas cities, but that could certainly change after seeing a positive response in some of the test markets.

You might ask what these changes mean for Starbucks as a commercial tenant in various strip centers.  A few questions could arise, like will other tenants with liquor licenses in the same center as one with a Starbucks adopting the sale of beer and wine have a problem with it?  Seems like it could be a concern, but most bars and restaurants typically don't have a restriction against other tenants in the center selling liquor.  There's also the issue of the Starbuck's tenant obtaining his/her liquor license and how the sale of wine and beer comes into play in a commercial lease.  Generally, the landlord's lease language simply specifies that should a tenant choose to obtain a liquor license, he/she will abide by T.A.B.C.'s rules and regulations.  The lease will also likely state that the landlord isn't liable should anything negative alcohol-related occur. Hypothetically, would a prospective retail tenant such as a restaurant or bar looking for space be concerned if a possible location housed a Starbucks with its liquor license?  I certainly would be, and as the Culture Map article states, local cafe's should DEFINITELY be concerned with their locations in relation to Starbucks with the proposed food and beverage roll-outs in the coffee giant's plans.

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