Customers place their orders at a large open window surrounded by books, each in varying shades of brown with the name of a drink written on the spine. To order, customers bring the book corresponding with their desired drink to the register. Customers may keep the book covers as souvenirs. The goal of the shop is to give customers “a small ‘!’ moment,” according to Oki Sato, the co-founder of Nendo, the company that designed the shop.
Starbucks Coffee has nearly 1,000 stores spread across Japan, but none as unique as the “Starbucks Espresso Journey” pop-up shop that opened last month in Omotesando, a trendy neighborhood in Tokyo. This limited engagement venue, open for only one month, has transformed a rented event space into a spacious, and somewhat sparse, two-floor coffee shop.
The menu is missing many of the the specialty beverages that Starbucks is famous for and features only nine simple espresso-based drinks. Included are two new limited time drinks, the Double Short Classic Latte and the Double Short Classic Cappuccino, both with a little more espresso or sugar than usual.
For the company that has the highest annual sales of any coffee chain in the nation, this shop is a way to present its customers with something different and give them a reason to stay loyal to the brand. As can be surmised by the long lines seen outside the shop each day, it seems to be working.