Starbucks is to take on rival Costa Coffee in the self-service sector with the launch of Starbucks On the Go as part of its strategy to serve its coffee at roadside locations, transports hubs and in retail businesses. In a world first for the company, Starbucks On the Go, its new premium self-service coffee machines, will be launched as a trial with Sainsbury’s in four locations at Sainsbury’s Local and Sainsbury’s forecourts next week. It is thought that the group will look to have thousands of the new machines operating across the UK in time and will begin by installing machines in further Sainsbury’s stores and petrol stations over the coming months, with the move seen as representing a multimillion-pound opportunity for the business. The group said the multimillion-pound investment into self-service machines would meet a growing demand from UK consumers who are increasingly looking for “better coffee without compromising on quality or convenience when they are out and about”. The company said its experts have been working to create a perfect solution for the past 12 months to ensure customers receive drinks that meet the same “high bar of taste and quality” they have come to expect in its stores. The machines will offer 100% Fairtrade Espresso coffee beans ground freshly for each drink. Fresh milk will be individually steamed and customers will be able to choose from 280 possible drink combinations. Starbucks said the move into the self-service market followed a series of “significant improvements” to operations and expansion updates made by the company over the last nine months in the UK, including the addition of a double shot to all lattes and cappuccinos as standard. Kris Engskov, managing director at Starbucks UK, said: “Following the strong response from customers about the convenience of being able to have the great quality of Starbucks on the go, we are delighted to introduce our new self-service solution, Starbucks On the Go here in the UK. This is part of our wider strategy to have the best quality coffee available to our customers in all those places where customers want and expect to see us. “We already serve over two million customers every week in our stores, and by increasing the places where consumers can buy Starbucks coffee means that we will tap into the huge opportunity around convenience and coffee away from home giving our customers the great quality coffee they know and love, wherever they may be.” Last year, rival Costa acquired Coffee Nation, the vending machine operator, for £59.5m and has since converted its c900-strong estate to its new Costa Express brand. It is on track to achieve its target of operating 3,000 machines under its Costa Express format by 2016 after unveiling the 1,000th self-service bar under the brand earlier this year in London’s Charing Cross station. The Express machines have been rolled out into locations such as Tesco Expresses, Moto, Esso forecourts, Welcome Break, plus a growing number of universities, hospitals and transport hubs. Separately, Starbucks said it continued to step up its drive-thru programme in the UK, following the announcement at the turn of the year that it planned to open 200 new drive-thru stores and create 5,000 new jobs by the end of 2016. Since then, the company has opened a number of Starbucks drive thrus across the country, including a “highly successful” site at Heathrow with Euro Garages. It said that its drive-thrus had fast become some of the business’s best performing sites in the UK and plans were afoot to open a further 16 drive-thru sites before the end of the year.