It looks like something out of a science fiction movie, with a stack of shelves, a shelf of food and a stack or two of cans.
The facility sits at the corner of a parking lot on a busy road just off of Interstate 80 in South Dakota, just outside of Sioux Falls.
It’s a simple idea: stack a couple of containers together, take one of them off the shelf, put it on a truck, and bring it back to a customer’s home.
“It’s very efficient,” says David Grosch, the CEO of Starbucks North America.
“We’re able to make products at home in a very low cost and in a way that’s environmentally friendly.”
In other words, they’re making a Starbuck product at home.
But what happens when you make the product and put it into a container?
The first question to ask is, how much will it cost?
“It depends on the kind of product, the cost of the material that you’re using, the size of the container,” Grosen says.
“Then it comes down to what kind of equipment you need to build the plant.
We’re looking for a system that can be built for $100,000 to $150,000.”
Starbucks is looking to start with a single-container factory.
It is building a single site for each of its nine North American stores.
“You’ll need a huge facility, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build a large plant on the property,” Giroth says.
The factory will also be equipped with automated robots to process the containers.
The goal is to be able to have a product in its home for a couple days, but then go back to the warehouse to put it back on the shelf.
“With automation, we’re able just to move it around, put products back in the shelf and ship them out,” Gensch says.
Grosens hopes to be in production by the end of 2020.
“This is not a very big investment in terms of the investment in infrastructure,” he says.
Instead, it’s just going to be a small piece of the business.
“If you’re looking at the cost per pound of goods that you can make at home, it might be less than $1,000 per pound,” Gresh says.
So what about shipping?
It’s all about logistics, right?
And the company has a plan to move products to other states.
“The idea is to go into other states,” Grop said.
“But that’s a very long shot, right?”
That’s because the company isn’t even sure what the cost will be once it starts shipping.
The company is working on its logistics plan, but it’s unclear how many containers will be shipped to each state.
The problem, Groses says, is that Starbucks needs to move all of its goods to the states before it can get them to its customers.
“In order to have enough stock, you need enough capacity,” Gretz says.
In other word, the company is planning on shipping a lot of products to people who are not in the states where it can make the most profit.
The plant will likely be in operation for a few years, but when it’s finished, it will be a temporary arrangement.
“I don’t want to be the one who has to move the products and move them to the other states every couple of years,” Gresch says, adding that the company wants to build a plant where people can be productive for a long time.
“So if we can put the product on shelves, I think it would be a really positive thing for us.”
A little bit of Starbuck at home?
The company says that its plant is already helping make products like the Starbucks chocolate bar, the Starbucks coffee, and the Starbucks lattes.
And it’s been doing that for years.
“Starbucks has been using Starbuck as a supplier in its manufacturing process,” Ghesch says of the plant, which will produce the cups of coffee.
The technology is also used in other companies, like the Nest thermostat, the Google home speaker, and others.
“People have been using it to make food and products,” Groth says, noting that they’re often in the process of replacing the glassware with plastic.
“That’s one of the benefits of this kind of technology.”
Groschn has been building a large-scale plant in California for decades.
He’s not sure what he’s going to do now, but he says that if the plant is up and running, he will build another one.
He says that the plant will be able produce about 40,000 boxes of coffee per day.
“Right now, we have about 200 boxes per day, so if we were to build another plant we could produce over 30,000 units per day,” he said.
The average coffee drinker drinks about two cups of Starbucks coffee per week.
“A lot of people would