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October 11, 2004

Starbucks in New York

I was in New York this weekend for my sister's wedding. I was astonished by how many Starbucks there were. Look at this map of locations near our hotel. Walking 14 blocks on Broadway, from Times Square to Columbus Circle, you pass 8 Starbucks, PLUS there are all the ones on 6th, 7th, and 8th Ave.

Still, if you consider downtown Redmond (which has six Starbucks, with a seventh being built), and then consider the density of housing in New York, it makes sense (or does it...starting to sound like a Microsoft interview question!).

Posted by AdamBa at October 11, 2004 01:43 PM

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Actually, it makes perfect sense. Downtown Seattle, there is just about a Starbucks (or Tully's) on every corner. The reasoning is that each location can not just survive, but thrive based on the clientele on that one block (or in some cases, in that one building) alone. Too few, and the lines become interminably long. Too many, and they're eating into each other's business.

People will only go so far for coffee, and will only wait so long. It's a complex supply and demand problem, but not that complex.

Posted by: Rob Stevens at October 12, 2004 03:21 PM

I guess what makes New York stand out is:

1) There is not a split between Tully's, Seattle's Best Coffee, and Starbucks. It's all Starbucks.

2) While Seattle can support the "one coffee shop per corner" density for perhaps a 20 square-block area in the middle of downtown, Manhattan just goes on and on and on at the same density.

- adam

Posted by: Adam Barr at October 12, 2004 10:02 PM