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Published: 27 Nov 2013

Starbucks in Transit: Store on a Train


Global coffee-shop chain Starbucks is expanding its presence in Europe with an unusual transit-focused concept: a fully fledged commercial store inside a train.

While Starbucks already stocks branded products on beverage carts on trains across the US and Europe, the new venture will be the first to echo its bricks-and-mortar store design. Conceived in collaboration with Swiss railway company SBB, it will feature a branded bar and seating for up to 50 people across two levels.

Key materials used in the interior include soft leather (seating) and wood (furniture and fixtures) to combine comfort and functionality while retaining the brand’s usual lounge-like signature decor.

Lix Muller, who directed the design concept, says it’s “one of the smallest espresso bars and stores we have ever designed” – a particularly tricky adaptation due to the limited space, stringent safety regulations and constant movement of the train.

The space is identified from the station platform by a large Starbucks logo splashed across the train’s exterior.

The concept is in line with a growing awareness of the need to cater to consumers on the move – especially fast-moving premium consumers (FMPCs), who desire ease and convenience, without compromising on quality. For more, see Nomadic Retail within our Anywhere Retailing Industry Trend, L’Oreal’s Intelligent Subway Vending, NYC and Benefit’s Automated Beauty Kiosk.

For more on designing for compact spaces, see Compact Stores and Going Micro: The Art & Science of Designing Small Spaces.

For more on Starbucks’ design strategy, see Starbucks Tea Bar, Starbucks’ New Eco-Local Drive Thru and Specialise to Survive within the Future of the Store Industry Trend. See also Café Culture.

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