Starbucks and Arizona State University collaborate on coffee shop innovation

The ASU-Starbucks Center for the Future of People and the Planet will work to create new ways to design and build Starbucks stores of the future

A rendering of the ASU-Starbucks Center for the Future of People and the Planet, which is scheduled to open in December 2021

Starbucks has announced it will create a new research and rapid innovation facility in partnership with Arizona State University (ASU).
Scheduled to open on ASU’s Tempe Campus in December 2021, the ASU-Starbucks Center for the Future of People and the Planet will be supported by ASU’s applied research and on-campus test store ecosystem.
ASU’s four campuses in the Phoenix metro area offer nine licensed Starbucks stores, run by US foodservice company, Aramark, that will act as innovation labs to test and evaluate strategies resulting from the new centre’s research. In-store testing will include new plant-based food and beverage offerings designed to reduce carbon intensity, strategies to improve recycling, promote re-usable cup usage, and new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.
“Over the last several years we have been reinventing Starbucks for our future and transforming the way we drive innovation at Starbucks,” said Kevin Johnson, Starbucks CEO.
“As we continuously focus on elevating the Starbucks Experience, introducing new and exciting beverage innovation, and reimagining customer experiences both in-store and through more personalised digital relationships, we constantly challenge ourselves to find new ways to give back more than we take, using our power at scale to create a better society in which we all live,” he added.
The new partnership comes as Starbucks marks its 50th anniversary in 2021. The world’s largest coffee chain has set out a vision to reimagine a future built on ‘human experience, connection and community’ following the seismic disruption of Covid-19. The Seattle-based coffee chain will also use the new research facility to achieve its ambitious 2030 sustainability goals, which includes a pledge to become resource positive within the next decade. 
Like coffee shops the world over, Starbucks has grappled with severe disruption to its global store portfolio during the pandemic. It has sought to ameliorate the impact of national lockdowns by pivoting towards technology driven solutions, including app-based ordering, third-party delivery and its sizeable global drive-thru presence.

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