On February 6, a new kind of Starbucks opened its doors in the Labège activity area, on the outskirts of Toulouse (Haute-Garonne). The launch of this drive attracted the curious, like Miriam, already a fan of cafes and other “lattes” offered by the American brand. The next day, she tested the concept at 9 a.m. “This idea of drive interested me. I wanted to see if it was faster or not, she explains. I was served in just two minutes, when there were customers inside and cars in front of me. Going to work is very convenient. “
At 28, the young woman is at the heart of the target of the brand based in Seattle (United States). “Here, we bring together the three audiences sought by Starbucks,” explains Stéphane Chicorp, the franchisee who opened this drive with his two partners, Denis Jardins and Pierre Fichard. With its 16,800 employees, nearly 5,000 students and a dynamic shopping center, Labège Innopole attracts CSP +, young people and families, at different times of the day and the week.
Meeting the need for consumer mobility
While they already have five other salons – the term used by Starbucks to designate its shops – in the Toulouse area, Stéphane Chicorp and his associates immediately smelled the opportunity to test the drive in this area. The location attracted the brand. “The idea is to meet the growing mobility needs of consumers,” says the franchisee. The case of Ahmed, a student in osteopathy, illustrates this problem. “After a long day, I wanted to go home quickly,” he says, picking up his drink around 3 p.m.
For Laurent Chérubin, the mayor of the city, also vice-president of the agglomeration community, this building of 250 m2, all in metal, glass and wood, “is fully in line with the desire to redevelop this sector with innovative brands ”. The site where the show is located, the former headquarters of a bank, also houses a computer store and a tapas bar – grocery store. “It is perfectly located on the diagonal, this gentle traffic axis that we want to set up for the arrival of the metro (Editor’s note: by 2025) “Continues the councilor, who welcomes the arrival of Starbucks in” the first area of activity in Occitania “.
A test for the brand
With its terrace, its cozy atmosphere and its upstairs meeting room, the ambitions of this new place go beyond a simple drive. “We want to integrate into the innovative ecosystem of Labège, whose ambition is to be a sort of French-style Silicon Valley,” says Starbucks, for whom this launch has the value of a test in France.
The first drive of the brand specializing in coffee was born in 1994 in the United States and has been developed in other countries since, notably Great Britain. It is precisely in a salon in the suburbs of London that the franchisee and a large part of fourteen employees of the team were trained before the opening.
If he does not want to give figures or project after only a few days of operation, Stéphane Chicorp still agrees to say that attendance is “in accordance with estimates”.