Mobile Starbucks: Caffeine Dream or C-Store Nightmare?

Coffee chain testing truck on three college campuses

SEATTLE -- Starbucks is rolling out (literally) a food truck. The new truck, a pilot mobile service coming to three college campuses this fall, offers a menu of drinks and food nearly identical to what customers would find in a non-mobile Starbucks cafe.

Starbucks Coffee Food Truck (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Foodservice)

The campuses and schedule include Arizona State University in Phoenix this week; James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., on Aug. 25; and Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., on Sept. 18.

"People are surprised to see it, and then they're excited," said Ike Van Skike, district manager for Starbucks licensed stores. "ASU faculty and staff tell me this is great for them because it's an area of the campus that doesn't have a lot of foodservice."

The Starbucks mobile truck can move to various locations on campus throughout the day, making it convenient for students and faculty to grab a snack or beverage. While hours will vary on each campus, trucks are able to adjust business hours to suit the needs of their customers, in some cases staying open later than a dining hall.

The mobile truck, which complements Starbucks cafes currently located across campus, is a licensed store operated through Aramark and is a natural extension of the longstanding partnership between the two companies.

"Between classes, homework, extracurricular activities, jobs and socializing with friends, today's students truly embody the on-the-go lifestyle," said Cathy Schlosberg, vice president of marketing for Aramark Education. "We believe the Starbucks mobile truck is a perfect opportunity to increase the convenience of our offerings and help meet our student body wherever they are in their busy days."

Seattle-based Starbucks Coffee Co. offers coffees, cold-blended beverages, a variety of complementary food items, a selection of premium teas and beverage-related accessories and equipment, primarily through about 7,000 U.S. company-operated retail stores. It also sells coffee and tea products and licenses its trademark through other channels such as licensed retail stores and, through certain of its licensees and equity investees, Starbucks produces and sells a variety of ready-to-drink beverages.

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