April 3, 2007

Starbucks; Where It’s Going, Is Because Of Where It’s Been

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So there has been a lot of debate lately about Charles Howard Shultz’s memo talking about the fact that the Starbucks shops have become commodities with automation that has all but eliminated the ambiance of the coffee shop that they started out as their mission. In the end, this is what they spoke of a couple of years ago. I recall the statement that they wanted to be the McDonald’s of the espresso world, so that where ever you go, you get a high quality cup of coffee standardized and unquestionably good. So, when you set the goal and obtain it, should you be surprised?

The thing is that with local coffee shops, there are rough edges, there are inconsistencies, and that’s what makes the experience a little bit enjoyable. Do I always want good espresso? Yes. Do I want cookie cutter decorations; the same merchandising displays and an overall look that is the same? No. Come on Howard, even McDonald’s has different motifs that make the experience different, but uniquely McDonald’s. I mean can’t you convey the brand image of Starbucks and still offer a different look and feel to shops based on local flavor?

Recently the LA Times had a similar article that talks about this subject. It’s worth a read.

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Posted by Scott Martin at April 3, 2007 8:43 AM
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