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Starbucks makes push for Seattle's Best

Starbucks makes push for Seattle's Best

In an ongoing plan to “unleash the power” of Seattle’s Best Coffee as a second global coffee brand, Starbucks Corp. said it is launching a new identity for the concept, including an updated logo.

Starbucks also said Wednesday that it had signed an agreement with AMC Theatres, which will begin serving Seattle Best coffee at 300 cinemas this summer.

The new logo for Seattle's Best reflects the brand's positioning as offering a more accessible specialty coffee in mass-market venues, said Starbucks, which acquired the concept in 2003.

Earlier this year, Starbucks announced plans to sell Seattle’s Best Coffee at Burger King restaurants across the country by September. Seattle’s Best is also available in Subway locations, as well as Borders Bookstores, on Alaska Airlines and on Royal Caribbean Cruise ships.

Company officials predicted Wednesday that the growing number of retail relationships as well as franchising efforts will increase the brand’s 3,000 distribution points to more than 30,000 by the end of Starbucks’ fiscal year in September.

“After decades of experience in the coffee business and providing millions of customers with our distinctive and approachable coffee, we are fully unleashing the power of the Seattle’s Best Coffee brand to create the next global coffee brand, inspired by our belief that everyone deserves a great cup of coffee,” Michelle Gass, president of Seattle’s Best Coffee, said in a statement.

She added: “We are setting out to turn the traditional coffee model on its head with innovative new approaches in every phase of our business — partnerships, retail and packaged goods — and taking our premium coffee to the places our customers go in their everyday lives.”

Starbucks has faced increased competition from quick-service giant McDonald’s, which last year rolled out its specialty McCafe coffee program. Though Starbucks has insisted that it is not losing customers to McDonald’s, the company has worked hard to turn around declining sales over the past two years by reinventing its food offerings, closing underperforming stores, and tweaking its pricing structure.

Starbucks has also reached out to the mass market with its new Via instant coffee, which is sold in its coffeehouses as well as retail outlets.

In the agreement with Kansas City, Mo.-based AMC Entertainment Inc., AMC theaters will begin selling Seattle’s Best brewed coffee and other products in July. Almost 70 locations also will sell espresso-based beverages as well, Starbucks said.

Like Starbucks, Seattle’s Best-brand ground and whole bean coffee is sold in grocery stores. Earlier this year, the company said it would launch a line of branded canned iced latte coffee drinks, also sold in various retail locations, mostly in the West.

The Seattle’s Best chain also includes 550 coffee cafes and kiosks in the U.S. and Canada, and the brand’s coffee is brewed at more than 15,000 foodservice locations, including college campuses, hotels and restaurants.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].

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