There are three Starbucks at the Shepherd & West Gray intersection (four if you count the one in Kroger just down the block). This fact has irked me ever since I discovered it recently. It initially seems senseless to saturate that corner, but I had to make sense of it.
Starbucks sees an opportunity to feed the market. They call this strategy “Main & Main” where they find a high-traffic locale and open up shops. Each location is slightly different, tailoring the experience to different needs. *
Knowing that the majority of coffee sales are generated before noon, each location indirectly works together to reduce bottle necking and allows customers to get their caffeine-fix in a more streamlined way.
Between all the different ways to order, pay, receive and consume coffee, Starbucks does not fear cannibalization, and instead banks on the unplanned, yet convenient, cup to drive overall sales.
What it all comes down to is persuading its customers that they have no choice but to grab a coffee. It is right there. No excuses. Whether it is at Location One, Two, Three or Four, through consistent and persistent marketing, Starbucks does not care where -- it focuses on the "stronger together" mentality. That is pretty powerful positioning (literally and figuratively).
* Two of these stores are licensed, not franchises. The licensed cafes are incorporated into already existing storefronts via strategic partnerships, with Barnes & Nobles and Kroger. Starbucks licenses the rights to serve its coffee and trains other companies’ employees to sell its products. (Brilliant, right?) The main differences appear to be which gift cards are redeemable and that employees may get called off to work “others duties as assigned.”