The Truth About Starbucks VS Target Starbucks Stores – What Every Coffee Lover Should Know | A Starbucks Review

by Nindo Mom on October 18, 2011

We have several Target stores here in Southern Maryland–and there’s a Starbucks in each one. But it turns out these Starbucks stores are not quite like the stand-alone stores.

What I found was curious today was that when I stopped by the Starbucks inside my local Target store, they wouldn’t make me a decaf coffee. Considering the time of day, and considering I had to work the next morning, I really would have preferred a decaf. And I also knew that Starbucks is supposed to give you whatever you want, provided it’s a drink they offer. This experience inspired me to pen this post–and point out the differences between corporate-owned Starbucks store and licensed Starbucks shops.

Differences between Starbucks stores and Target Starbucks stores

Corporate Starbucks Stores: Can get all available Starbucks merchandise
Target Licensed Starbucks Stores: Can only get a limited selection of Starbucks merchandise

Explanation: A Target Starbucks employee informed me that they aren’t able to get any of the Starbucks “City” design mugs or certain other merchandise. If you’re like me and you loves all the beautifully designed Starbucks mugs, this is disappointing news if the Starbucks store you most frequently visit is inside a Target.

Corporate Starbucks Stores: will make any drink on their menu board for a customer, upon request
Target Licensed Starbucks Stores: may have different “rules” when it comes to fulfilling customer orders

Explanation:  When, at 4:30 p.m. one Tuesday evening, I asked a Target Starbucks employee for a decaf coffee, he politely informed me that they stopped brewing decaf at noon each day. I mentioned that this seemed puzzling to me, considering the evening is when more people generally WANT to drink decaf. Curiously, the Target Starbucks employee didn’t agree; what I was saying didn’t fit with how he had been told to do his job. *sigh*

Corporate Starbucks Stores: are owned by Starbucks Corporation
Target Licensed Starbucks Stores: are operated by Target Brands, Inc., through license granted by Starbucks Corporation.

Explanation: Starbucks shops located inside Target stores are run entirely by Target store employees. So the way you’re treated as a customer by the employees at that Target is exactly the same as you’re treated at that Starbucks–because the employees are the same.

Corporate Starbucks Stores: accept major credit cards, including the Target VISA card
Target Licensed Starbucks Stores: also accept major credit cards; AND, when using your Target VISA card, you’ll receive the same 5 percent discount as you would if shopping at Target!

Explanation: When I discovered this benefit, I was pretty excited. Not only could I get a 5 percent discount off all the Starbucks cafe items, but I could also buy the bagged coffee sold there at the shop for a 5 percent discount. Yippee!

Corporate Starbucks Stores: are always staffed with employees (Seems like a no-brainer, right? But wait . . .)
Target Licensed Starbucks Stores: are sometimes unstaffed and vacant (What? Are you kidding me?. . .)

Explanation: You’d never drive up to a regular Starbucks shop and discover it void of employees, right? On numerous occasions, I’ve walked up to the Starbucks in my Target store and discovered–you guessed it, NO ONE WAS THERE. I actually had to stand there looking around for a while before a Target employee would notice me and come over to get me some coffee. A couple of times, no one ever came. :(


So there you have it. I’ll keep adding to this list as I think of more ways that Starbucks is different from the Starbucks stores you find inside Target stores–any input from my wonderful readers would be welcomed, if you have experiences to share!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Becky November 21, 2014 at 4:25 PM

I worked at a regular Starbucks. They all stop brewing decaf after noon. It’s just a Starbucks thing. Not enough people buy brewed coffee after the morning rush to keep brewing it all day. The coffee is always fresh and you wouldn’t want to keep dumping out giant urns of unused coffee. They should do a pour over though. Like brewing a single cup.


Nindo Mom December 30, 2014 at 12:23 AM

Funny. Later in the day is when I would expect there would be an increased demand for decaf.


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