Starbucks and SBB launch first train cafés

Malcolm Curtis
Malcolm Curtis - [email protected]
Starbucks and SBB launch first train cafés
Photo: SBB

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is teaming up with Starbucks to offer a two-level “coffee house” carriage on trains running across Switzerland twice a day.


“This is the first train in the world with a Starbucks café,” SBB said on Thursday when the pilot project was unveiled in Zurich.

The service will launch on November 21st on InterCity trains running between Geneva and Saint Gallen via Fribourg.

Fast food will be served on the lower floor while a café with waiting service will offer the lattes, cappuccinos and other typical fare of the giant American coffee house chain.

The service will run for nine months before being evaluated to determine whether the service will be offered on other routes.

The coffee house carriage, marked with a large Starbucks logo, will be managed by Elvetino, a subsidiary of SBB.

A second such carriage will be brought into service in the first quarter of 2013.

The objective of the partnership is to expand the selection of existing food and beverage services on Swiss trains and increase the appeal of rail travel, SBB said.

“The high quality standards of Starbucks and their popularity in Switzerland spoke for our cooperation,” Jeannine Pilloud, head of SBB’s passenger service, said in a statement.

“Starbucks aboard the SBB will be a place where our passengers can feel comfortable and can relax as if they were at home.”

SBB noted that Starbucks and Switzerland have a special relationship, with the chain’s first coffee shop in continental Europe opening in Zurich in 2001.

Now the chain operates 48 outlets in Switzerland, including 20 in the country’s largest city.

In 2002, it established a coffee trading company in Lausanne to handle purchases of "green" coffee.

Founded in Seattle, Washington in 1971 with one shop, Starbucks is now the biggest coffee house chain in the world with close to 21,000 outlets in 62 countries.


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