Starbucks strikes back against “theft”

http://www.theswom.org/profiles/blogs/starbucks-is-ready-to-tell

It’s a nicely done video with just a small rough spot here and there. I like how Howard thanks his staff.

It’s certainly a good example of communicating your company’s values in ways other than organically.

It’s not theft when you give it away

Most interesting is the claim that that indie coffee shops (perhaps more accurately: McDonald’s) are stealing Starbucks’ story. You know, the story about the indie, perhaps even quirky, coffee shop that does it all while you watch.

The story Starbucks gave away in exchange for stock certificates, warehouses and cookie cutter stores.

Back in prehistoric times before there were 4 bazillion Starbucks stores, before conference calls with Wall Street, they did the things that indies have always done.

Now, they compete with McDonald’s for the McCoffee market and they buy, roast and ship prefab coffee around like McDonald’s ships prefab burgers. To their credit, it got a little better when they went to Pike Place Roast, but it still isn’t like fresh roasted indie coffee.

Coffee should be roasted in your shop for consumption that day (OK, I’ll give you a week or so), not in a warehouse in (among other places) New Jersey.

What’s that smell?

To reclaim the indie story, you have to do the things an indie coffee shop lives for (and their clientele depends on):

  • roast your beans in the store, in small quantities.
  • serve ground-that-moment coffee, not ground-last-month-in-New-Jersey coffee.
  • roast coffee till it’s just right (rather than burn it)

The air in a community coffee shop should smell like fine coffee, rather than carry the aroma of stale french fry grease.

Congruence. Do you have it?

5 thoughts on “Starbucks strikes back against “theft””

  1. While Starbucks does roast coffee at a plant and ship it to the stores, it is shipped as whole bean. The only exception is the coffee used for iced coffee, that is pre-ground and packaged for the correct proportions. The coffee that we brew in the shop every day is ground in the morning and again mid-day as needed. The espresso we use in drinks is also ground for each individual drink.

    Sure, roasting coffee in store is best, but the equipment is too expensive to put in every single Starbucks.

    1. Thanks for clarifying those operations, Justin. Do you have any idea what the time frame is between roasting and store arrival? (I realize it may vary)

  2. I want to say that it is roasted and shipped out fairly fast. My store goes through 15 5lb bags of Pikes Place a week. Ill see if I can find a roasting date tonight when im at work.

    1. Thanks Justin, I appreciate it. BTW, I suspect part of the no-in-store-roaster issue is about green coffee storage, specialized personnel and store square footage as well. I’ll bet the costs break out pretty evenly vs. transport, storage and related warehousing type costs.

  3. The last time I went into a corporate store and looked at the date of when the product was roasted, the coffee was six weeks old. No matter how you look at it, that coffee has zero flavor left to it, especially when coffee loses 25% of it’s flavor within 10-14 days after it is roasted. I would rather chew on fresh grass than brew that through my home machine.

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