President Starbucks Coffee Corp (統一星巴克), a joint venture between President Chain Store Corp (PCSC, 統一超商) and the Seattle-based coffee giant in charge of its Taiwan operations, is planning to introduce a 24-hour service in Taiwan, eyeing demand from nocturnal consumers.
The 24-hour service, set to be offered every Friday and Saturday, is to start trial operations in four outlets of the cafe chain from tomorrow.
Two of the four Starbucks outlets are in downtown Taipei, while the other two are in New Taipei City (新北市) and Greater Kaohsiung, the company said.
“We have seen demand for a 24-hour services at certain outlets in metropolitan areas, many of which are still crowded at night,” a President Starbucks public relations official said by telephone yesterday.
As this is a new service for the cafe chain, it did not specify how much revenue the 24-hour service is expected to generate and did not provide figures on projected customer volumes.
However, President Starbucks expects the trial operation to help it learn about the potential demand for a 24-hour service.
President Starbucks generated NT$43.1 million (US$1.43 million) in net income for President Chain Store in the first three months of the year. Last year, the coffee chain contributed NT$140.09 million in net profit to its parent company, data from the Taiwan Stock Exchange showed.
Despite the venture being new territory for President Starbucks, various food and beverage chain operators have been offering 24-hour service for years.
Bakery and coffee chain 85°C (85度C), owned by Gourmet Master Co (美食達人), has been offering 24-hour service in certain outlets since 2004, with about 150 of its 344 outlets in Taiwan providing such a service.
Most of these outlets are located in urban areas with convenient transport links, where customers are likely to be out at night, the company said.
Every outlet offering an all-night service has been carefully evaluated by the company to ensure profitability, and the service is adjusted appropriately Gourmet Master said.
However, Gourmet Master does not regard the move by President Starbucks as direct competition, saying that the target customer of the two chains is different.
Meanwhile, Full Fill Industrial Co Ltd (馥餘實業), which runs cafe chain Barista Coffee (西雅圖極品咖啡), has adopted a flexible approach to offering 24-hour services.
The chain provides 24-hour services not only in certain outlets, but also on certain dates, Full Fill vice president Vincent Luo (羅文聖) said.
“For the past few years, we have offered a 24-hour service in an outlet near Taipei 101 during the New Year’s Eve countdown, while providing non-stop service in stores located in rest areas along the nation’s freeways during long weekends and holiday periods,” Lo said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Lo said Barista Coffee formerly offered a 24-hour service in a store on Taipei’s Nanjing E Road (南京東路), but pulled the service after customer numbers declined.
Association of Chain and Franchise Promotion (台灣連鎖加盟促進協會) secretary-general Daniel Liu (劉汝駒) said offering 24-hour services is a good way for food and beverage chains to increase sales.
However, location remains the key factor in determining the profitability of such services, as running 24-hour stores has additional cost implications for human resources and utilities Liu added.