Archive for the 'coffee' Category

The Howard Schultz Starbucks Memo

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

Read about this in the weekend edition of the WSJ. I agree with every word in the Starbucks Memo. In fact, I believe the Howard Schultz Starbucks memo is four years overdo….


The Starbucks Memo: 

Subject: The Commoditization of the Starbucks Experience

As you prepare for the FY 08 strategic planning process, I want to share some of my thoughts with you.

Over the past ten years, in order to achieve the growth, development, and scale necessary to go from less than 1,000 stores to 13,000 stores and beyond, we have had to make a series of decisions that, in retrospect, have lead to the watering down of the Starbucks experience, and, what some might call the commoditization of our brand.

Many of these decisions were probably right at the time, and on their own merit would not have created the dilution of the experience; but in this case, the sum is much greater and, unfortunately, much more damaging than the individual pieces. For example, when we went to automatic espresso machines, we solved a major problem in terms of speed of service and efficiency. At the same time, we overlooked the fact that we would remove much of the romance and theatre that was in play with the use of the La Marzocca machines. This specific decision became even more damaging when the height of the machines, which are now in thousands of stores, blocked the visual sight line the customer previously had to watch the drink being made, and for the intimate experience with the barista. This, coupled with the need for fresh roasted coffee in every North America city and every international market, moved us toward the decision and the need for flavor locked packaging. Again, the right decision at the right time, and once again I believe we overlooked the cause and the affect of flavor lock in our stores. We achieved fresh roasted bagged coffee, but at what cost? The loss of aroma — perhaps the most powerful non-verbal signal we had in our stores; the loss of our people scooping fresh coffee from the bins and grinding it fresh in front of the customer, and once again stripping the store of tradition and our heritage? Then we moved to store design. Clearly we have had to streamline store design to gain efficiencies of scale and to make sure we had the ROI on sales to investment ratios that would satisfy the financial side of our business. However, one of the results has been stores that no longer have the soul of the past and reflect a chain of stores vs. the warm feeling of a neighborhood store. Some people even call our stores sterile, cookie cutter, no longer reflecting the passion our partners feel about our coffee. In fact, I am not sure people today even know we are roasting coffee. You certainly can’t get the message from being in our stores. The merchandise, more art than science, is far removed from being the merchant that I believe we can be and certainly at a minimum should support the foundation of our coffee heritage. Some stores don’t have coffee grinders, French presses from Bodum, or even coffee filters.

Now that I have provided you with a list of some of the underlying issues that I believe we need to solve, let me say at the outset that we have all been part of these decisions. I take full responsibility myself, but we desperately need to look into the mirror and realize it’s time to get back to the core and make the changes necessary to evoke the heritage, the tradition, and the passion that we all have for the true Starbucks experience. While the current state of affairs for the most part is self induced, that has lead to competitors of all kinds, small and large coffee companies, fast food operators, and mom and pops, to position themselves in a way that creates awareness, trial and loyalty of people who previously have been Starbucks customers. This must be eradicated.

I have said for 20 years that our success is not an entitlement and now it’s proving to be a reality. Let’s be smarter about how we are spending our time, money and resources. Let’s get back to the core. Push for innovation and do the things necessary to once again differentiate Starbucks from all others. We source and buy the highest quality coffee. We have built the most trusted brand in coffee in the world, and we have an enormous responsibility to both the people who have come before us and the 150,000 partners and their families who are relying on our stewardship.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge all that you do for Starbucks. Without your passion and commitment, we would not be where we are today.


nit-pics (i have no idea what “nit-pics” means)

Friday, December 15th, 2006

The past few days, I have taken several photos. Now, I present them to you in their full glory.

Verily, these pictures are random. However, let it be known, that I do not harbor any ill-will towards randomness. In fact, I preach randomness on random occasions.

Admit it pumpkins; you are glad to have me back in the sack!

The “A” in Walmart goes on strike
The web address for Costco is Coincidence? I think not.
Best cookies I ever tasted. My cousin baked them this evening.
Sign on the door of a Coffee Shop!(Flipping the bird to the birds!)
The place is so narrow, there is no space between “be” and “careful”. How ironic is that???

The Handicapped KIA

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

Early this afternoon, I left the deck of my coffee shop. I don’t actually own the caffeine establishment, but I now refer to it as “mine”.

So, I spot a nice looking car. It was parked in a handicapped spot. For a second, I presumed it was a Bentley or something else of that stature.


Upon further inspection, I discover that the automobile is in fact a KIA. Score!

kia logo.JPG

Now here’s the question; if you drive a KIA, does that automatically qualify you to park in a handicapped spot? (I think so.)

The Unfoaming of Starbucks on Google Checkout

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

The other day I noticed that Geckout had molested (for lack of worser word) the Starbucks logo. I blogged and took a screen shot. Guess what? The problem has been fixed!


Starbucks is now exuding with lucidity. And just writing about them makes me realize how badly I need my second LARGE cup of coffee!

There has also been a new sighting in the Official Google Checklout Blog. Codes have been published! They say that good things come to those who wait.

Geckout Screws Up Starbucks Logo

Saturday, August 26th, 2006

Google Checkout is high. Not sure on what. But the Geckout folks are certainly puffing on the good stuff.First, Levi’s pulls down their trousers from Google Checkout.

Then the GCSI (google checkout shopping icon) starts showing up in places it does not belong.

And now I notice that Geckout has fuzzied-up the Starbucks Store logo. Can someone please notify the people @ Starbucks Corporation (Public, NASDAQ:SBUX)

starbucks (2)1.jpg

A few more of these erratic Google Checout incidents and we’re going to have to make a group intervention!

Exclusive: Starbucks to launch new flavored drink

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

Things at the coffee chain, Starbucks Corporation (Public, NASDAQ:SBUX), have not been going all the smoothly. This is true stuff. I am not merely pulling your chain about the worlds largest coffee chain. Ever since I discovered Panera, my loyalty has continued to drift away from the coffee hegemony.

There have been several four-legged sightings in various Starbucks Starbugs establishments. Starbucks is not worried. In fact, they have decided to create a NEW DRINK in honor of their esteemed clientele.

While I do not not that exact details, I do have a rough mock-up of the freshly designed cup.

starbucks (2).jpg

I can also inform you that the name of the beverage is: La Cucaracha.

Vital $$$ Stats for Starbuck’s La Cucaracha:
Price: $4.50
Price WITH ice: $5.75
In a GLASS bottle: $6.95
Drink + Starbucks Napkin: $13.50