In order to offer Swiss train travelers some extra service (and, of course, sell coffee), the Swiss railway company SBB has teamed up with Starbucks to create the first Starbucks café on a train. The Starbucks Coffee House on rails was first operational during a train trip from Geneva to St. Gallen in Switzerland.
Starbucks and SBB completely redesigned the interior of a double-decker wagon. Two former restaurant cars were converted into mobile Starbucks cafés with a take-away on the lower deck and table service on the upper deck. The coupé has a luxurious design with raw-edge wooden tables and custom leather seatings for up to 50 people. The inspiration for the color palette is inspired by the coffees Starbucks sells, from dark roasted brown beans to white steamed milk color ways.
“It was an incredible and rewarding challenge to design our first ever Starbucks store on a train”, explains Liz Muller, Director of Concept Design at Starbucks. “We had to combine functionality and beautiful design, whilst taking into account a variety of factors such as constant movement of the train, space limitation and stringent safety regulations. This is one of the smallest espresso bars and stores we have ever designed and is a result of a unique collaboration of experts, including local designers and engineers from SBB.”
As of 21 November 2013, the first double-decker Starbucks travels twice daily to and from Geneva/Fribourg and St. Gallen, with a second coach set to follow on the same route in spring 2014. After a test period both companies will decide whether the Starbucks café on rails will become a permanent thing in Switzerland (and perhaps in other countries as well) or not.