Is There Anything Special About Starbucks Cafes In Target?

You know that saying, "If it walks like a duck, and it talks like a duck, it must be a duck"? The same holds true for Starbucks. Whether we're talking stand-alone cafes or stores located at Target, they're all Starbucks through and through. Almost. There are some behind-the -scenes differences, but the customer experience at both locations is the same. Here's the deal: Target and Starbucks, as separate entities, engaged in a licensing agreement in 1999 that allows Target to sell Starbucks products and use Starbucks branding. That means, regardless of location or affiliation, all Starbucks look the same and offer the same roster of coffee and food items, including seasonal favorites. In addition, most locations carry the same inventory of year-round and seasonal merchandise. Except for one thing: The Bullseye Cake Pop is exclusive to Target locations.

Before we move on, let's address an ongoing debate among Starbucks fans. The argument centers on rumored disparities between the training employees at stand-alone Starbucks get versus the training required for Target Starbucks baristas. A former Starbucks barista with experience working in both settings took to TikTok in 2022 to set the record straight, "Most Starbucks baristas will tell you that Target is not trained at the level that regular Starbucks is, and that's absolutely false because all of their training modules are the same." However — no matter good they are — Target Starbucks baristas, as Target employees, are not allowed to accept gratuities.

What's the buzz?

Even though they're run by different companies, as long as everyone is following the rule book, the customer experience at Starbucks stand-alone cafes and Target Starbucks should be seamlessly similar. That's a big deal because in the 20-plus years since the two corporate giants initiated the agreement, Target has opened more than 1,700 in-store cafés nationwide. While that's only a fraction of the almost 16,000 stores Starbucks operates in the United States, it's an important fraction to loyal Target shoppers who've learned how to work the partnership to their advantage through their Red Card and Circle discounts.

And then there's the one-stop-shopping perk at Target Starbucks. In 2022, Target began offering Starbucks curbside delivery in conjunction with its existing curbside pickup service at participating locations. The initiative allows Target shoppers to place a Starbucks order to go and have it delivered, along with their Target order, straight to their car. We have one question, though: If you never enter the store, can you drive by for a free refill? Sadly, no. The Starbucks drive-thru policy applies.

Customers are also unable to order ahead on the Starbucks app at Target Starbucks.