Reports: Starbucks converts Swiss rail car into full-service cafe

Seattle-based coffee chain seeks to create in-store experience on wheels

NEW YORK — In many cities, it sometimes seems as though there's a Starbucks on every street corner, but a new frontier for the Seattle-based coffee chain is now on track — literally.

The Seattle Times reported that Starbucks had partnered with Swiss rail operator SBB to convert a car into a cafe on wheels. The Starbucks car operates on a train that runs between Geneva and St. Gallen, 222 miles away, at 120 miles per hour. The newspaper noted that the chain has used "unorthodox" means to connect to consumers, including opening a drive-through cafe in Tukwila, Wash., made from old cargo containers.

The Swiss on-board cafe occupies both floors of a bilevel car and seeks to recreate the typical experience of a Starbucks store.

Retailers in the United States have sought to connect with consumers in their own ways, such as Ahold's installation of virtual supermarkets in commuter rail stations in Chicago and the Northeast.

 

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