Opening a Starbucks in a Funeral Home: Genius or Fail?August 2nd, 2012
We’ve all heard about the recent announcement that Robinson Funeral Home is building a Starbucks in their funeral home, calling it the “Coffee Corner.”
I recently read Caleb Wilde’s blog with his take on the project.
He questions the logistics of it when he says: “Does this mean that I can sit in the lounge area and drink my grande iced caffe macchiato while enjoying my New York Times and a view of today’s funeral?”
Ok, so it might leave a bad taste in some people’s mouths.
But, I’m deciding to go against the grain and call it pure genius.
Or… maybe it isn’t. Let’s see how my thinking aloud goes.
Here’s 3 reasons why I think putting a Starbucks in your funeral home could be a mastermind move:
1. It provides an escape for the grieving
When you lose a loved one, it’s really hard to face your grief. Some people like to have friends and family around them for support. But what about those who are so upset, they just need to “get away for a little bit”? Being around dozens (or hundreds) of people isn’t somewhere people like to be when they’re sad. Located away from the lobby and all the pitter-patter of people, the “Coffee Corner” is the perfect place to get away.
Funeral home owner Chris Robinson even says himself: “It should help families escape from the stress a little bit, having a private area to get their minds off of what’s going on.”
2. It adds another level of service to the community
Let’s be honest, for some people, funerals can be exhausting. Many people spend countless hours in the funeral home, especially if they’re really close to the loved one or the bereaving family. For youngsters, people with small attention spans, and those who dislike the entire idea of being in a funeral home, the “Coffee Corner” can provide a little “entertainment”, if you will. Complete with a TV, fireplace, and Wi-Fi, guests won’t be bored… that’s for sure.
Chris Robinson drives this point home as well: “It will help people who are intimidated at stepping foot in a funeral home. They may not feel out of sorts,” he said.
3. It creates a new source of revenue
Coffee and funerals are like peanut butter and jelly. Most funeral home’s offer coffee to service attendees (usually for free). I’m no accountant, but I do know that adding another paid service to your offerings is always a sure-fire way to add to your revenue. Yes, some people might think it’s un-ethical to build a commercialized entity in a funeral home (after all, it’s supposed to be a “home”). But, people love Starbucks. The brand recognition alone will draw in a steady stream of revenue. Plus, if Starbucks can help busy businessman and woman get through the day, it’s got to help grieving families and friends get through theirs, too.
Despite the criticism and the controversy over this subject, I commend Robinson Funeral Home for thinking outside the box. If the “Coffee Corner” goes well for the Robinsons, I think we all need to sit down and think about other ways that we can provide a similar level of comfort, support, and added service to our families.
What do you think? Is opening up a Starbucks in a funeral home a good idea, or a horrible one? Share your thoughts!