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Is Starbucks Losing Its Star? I’m Gonna Just call it ‘Bucks

July 30, 2012

I spend a lot of time in Starbucks.  It’s where I do my writing and indulge my caffeine habit.  I go to a few of them near where I live depending on my mood.

I read  recently that the stock tanked after they missed the last quarter’s earnings. Financial analysts will certainly offer some reasons why that happened.

I’m not a financial analyst.

I’m more of an atmosphere analyst .  They are losing their star–maybe now it should just be called ‘bucks.

Something’s definitely wrong there and here are my thoughts about why Starbucks is losing its STAR.

1.  Too much product that no one wants.  In marketing language, we’d say too much product diversification or even worse, brand dilution.

Who wants that foolish instant coffee that Starbucks is selling?  I see it in the convenience shops and in Starbucks shops.  If I wanted instant coffee, I certainly would not choose Starbucks.  I want freshly brewed coffee.  The instant stuff for me just cheapens the brand.  Ditto for the stupid “blonde” coffee options they serve.  I want good strong coffee, not stuff that I could get at Dunkin Donuts or from Maxwell House.

2.  Too much training of staff during the day.  Inevitably when I go to a Starbucks, they are training someone new.  The people are cheerful enough, but my transaction takes twice as long.  Please, do the training before the store opens or after it closes.  Not when the place is packed with people who need their fix.

3.  Not enough electrical outlets.  I think they have approximately 2 electrical outlets per Starbucks. Given that the average shop seats around 50 people, those of us who need power there have to either camp out overnight or wait in line when the place opens to get an outlet to power our stuff.

OK. There’s more.   Would love to hear your thoughts too.

Last time I wrote about Starbucks in Japan, I got contacted by a representative of Starbucks offering me a free frappuccino [they didn't say which size].

I wonder what will happen this time.  Hmmm.  We’ll see.

I used to preach that a great brand listens to its customers. Hmm. We’ll see.

2 comments

  1. Great post, Bob. I thought they had outlets all over their stores because the one shop at Ichigaya station has an outlet at every seat along the counter. Then I found out that was an anomaly. By the way, I think you mean “train staff before the store opens or after it closes.” :-> In any case, I too have done some writing at Starbucks, but not so much anymore….Like you say, losing the STAR?


  2. Thanks Andrew.



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