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Starbucks, Seattle's Best Brew Up More Drive-Thrus

SEATTLE -- Seattle's Best Coffee, a featured brand within Starbucks Corp., is expanding its drive-thru footprint. The coffee chain is opening 15 new locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and its parent company is following suit with drive-thru expansion plans of its own.

"We believe that everyone deserves a great cup of coffee, even if they don't have time to sit in a café," stated Frank Sica, vice president and general manager. "We're offering a fast, friendly and delicious coffee experience that fits the lives of Dallas-area commuters."

The expansion follows the launch of the drive-thru concept in Seattle last fall. The drive-thrus, which are set to open soon, will serve the brand's new menu of dashboard-friendly foodservice including coffee, specialty dessert coffee drinks, pretzel melts, egg sandwiches and handheld Anytime Pies. The drive-thru menu also offers combos priced under $5, according to the company.

“We know how important coffee is to our customers, and we’re focused on giving them a great cup, whether they’re at home or on the road,” said Jennifer Dimaris, vice president, brand management. “With our drive-thru expansion in Dallas, we want to give time pressed, value-conscious customers a great cup of coffee, served by people who are passionate about coffee.”

In addition, the launch of the drive-thrus will create 150 new full- and part-time jobs in the region. Each new location will be hiring 10 new employees including shift leads and a barista position. A hiring fair is scheduled to take place in early April.

"Seattle’s Best Coffee is dedicated to becoming an integral part of the local community through job creation and development. Texas has long been a part of our expansion plan and we are thrilled to finally bring Dallas-Fort Worth partners on board," added Sica.

Seattle's Best Coffee is available in 50,000 locations worldwide -- including cafes, college campuses, restaurants, hotels, airlines, cruise ships, grocery stores and movie theatres.

Like its subsidiary, parent company Starbucks is eyeing drive-thrus as an opportunity for high profits.

According to a report by Nation's Restaurant News, Starbucks' U.S. growth will focus on drive-thru locations. About 60 percent of the 1,500 U.S. units planned in the next five years will have this option.

"Drive-thrus create incremental revenues and profits compared to traditional stores and represent a fast-growing and highly profitable format for Starbucks, comprising just over one-third of our U.S. company-operated stores but contributing nearly 45 percent of our U.S. retail profit," said CEO Howard Schultz.

"We are investing in this high-margin store format with innovations that will elevate the customer experience of our brand by enhancing drive-thru efficiency and consistency of service," he added.

As of Dec. 30, Starbucks operated 18,278 worldwide stores.

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