June 21, 2009

Fresher Coffee at Starbucks? Maybe

Reports have Starbucks moving away from some streamline approaches to making their drip coffee to an approach that tries to emphasize quality and overall customer experience over efficiency. It may sound like a small step, but let's take a look.

Starbucks is moving to a practice where beans will be ground right before each pot of drip coffee is brewed, and brew that pot every 24 minutes. This is a change from the current practice of grinding in the morning for the day ahead of time, saving critical minutes when the shop is busy and people are standing in line. McDonalds, the kings of service efficiency and design, might say that you do the most efficient method, but it missed the amazing aroma that pulls people into the fantasy that coffee shops conjure. Will the pot of coffee be better? Technically, yes, but to the average patron, sipping it out of a paper cup through a plastic lid blocks down the street, no way. The overall experience should be better if they can tie that aroma to the shop and the act of getting that great cup of coffee.

Across town where McDonalds is trying their best to get a big foothold in the Coffee market, the place smells like fries and a burger - so coffee shop aroma there. This can be a key differentiator for Starbucks and help them reinforce the quality image that they are trying to culture.

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Posted by Scott Martin at June 21, 2009 8:17 AM
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