Regular Joe

Starbucks Goes Lowbrow

Having a cafe on every corner just isn’t enough for Starbucks; the coffee giant is now taking on McDonald’s. This fall, the company will roll out a second brand to appeal to mass markets, selling the new product in about 30,000 fast-food outlets, grocery stores, and even vending machines. Seattle’s Best Coffee, a former competitor acquired by Starbucks, will be sold as “Great Coffee for Everyone” with a smoother taste, a lower price, and massive availability. Tom Ehlers, a veteran Starbucks executive, says, “Regular people have found their way to great coffee,” and likened the venture to Old Navy, the Gap's discount chain. But there are risks; selling Starbucks from a vending machine could hurt the company’s upscale image.