Starbucks Drive Thru

Starbucks is getting its Mojo Back

Starbucks cupsI’m not a fan of Starbucks. In general, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the Siren Image, I think of a big chain trying to smash smaller coffee houses. That being said, for this commentary, I will try to keep my preconceived opinions to a minimum and report some of the interesting facts I’ve observed about this coffee giant in the recent past.

First, some context.

Starbucks has always presented one major pro to me, and one major con.

Pro: No matter where you go, Starbucks makes their product the same. Like it or not, it’s the same coffee, same barista training, same (or very similar) automatic espresso machines that pull the same shots the same way every time. I’ve had Starbucks in Virginia, California, and here in Idaho- and trust me, they’re exactly the same (I have yet to try them overseas, but I don’t doubt I would report the same thing.)
Key word: same.

Con: Unlike many local coffeehouses, the product Starbucks has to offer is sub-par with few exceptions. Layman’s terms: their coffee really isn’t completely and utterly fantastic. Many coffee snobs may disagree with me on this- but I think we could find a common ground:
In the grand scheme of things, even the lightest of Starbucks’ blends tastes dark in comparison to, say, a freshly roasted medium blend from Dawson’s. The common coffee drinker may say it tastes “burnt” or “over-roasted.” Although there are people who like this dark taste, it’s clear that Starbucks does one product, and they do it the same every time. They may put a different label on it, make the bag red for Christmas, and put some flavor in it, but each of their coffees is essentially the same: dark.
Key word: same.Starbucks Drive Thru

Starbucks has found their niche market, and if I had to distill it into one word I would say this: travelers. Whether it be business people who fly cross-state as part of their job, or merely someone making their commute to work in the morning, Starbucks is an ideal choice for men and women on the go. People who are on their way somewhere or late for something (say, a very important date) need something quick, easy, and dependable. Starbucks offers all three, and at a price people will pay. I don’t particularly like their coffee, but I do think their business model is brilliant.

And with that lead in, I’m now going to explore an observation I’ve been making for the last few weeks.

It appears to me that Starbucks is beginning to look further than their current niche market.
I think they’re actually trying to become your friendly neighborhood coffeehouse.

Impossible? Check this out.Starbucks Fold Out

Taken from a handout I received at my local Starbucks:

Introducing My Starbucks Rewards, a new program that rewards you the more you come in.
Free drinks. Free syrups. Free soymilk. Free Wi-Fi. And best of all, free to join.

Really? Really.

All you have to do is register your Starbucks Card, use it to pay for coffee and treats, and watch your rewards grow.

You’ll soon be hearing, “This one’s on the house.”

Ready? Right this way…

(link added)

Starbucks CardThe pamphlet goes on to explain how each time you go in to a Starbucks, order a drink, and swipe your card, you get one “Star”. Five Stars gets you to the Green Level (2 hours free Wi-Fi, Free refills on brewed coffee, etc.) 30 Stars get’s you to the Gold Level (Same rewards as Green Level+Personalized card & Welcome packet, free drink every 15 additional Stars.)

That’s right folks, Starbucks has a punch card now. They’re like your friend with benefits (ok, bad analogy…)

So what’s so special about a big name corporation getting what Dutch Bros. or Moxie Java has had since the 6th Century? It shows that they’re adapting. They’re looking to make life easier for you. Heck, it’s cool that they’re thinking about you, the customer, at all!

Can We Buy You a Drink?That, in my book, speaks loads about the head honchos of Starbucks. They’re thinking outside the box, trying to bring new people into their stores, and changing up their game plan to do so. Adaptability is a great skill in the coffee biz, and that’s compounded the bigger the business is. It’ll be interesting to see how this adaption will affect the sales of Starbucks.

Now…if only they’d adapt their product and make it taste good!* 😉

What are your thoughts about Starbucks getting its mojo back? Will you participate? Comment and let me know!

The Coffee Guy
The Coffee Guy at Starbucks

*Although I dislike a majority of Starbucks’ products, I do enjoy one of their mochas from time to time.

7 thoughts on “Starbucks is getting its Mojo Back

  1. I have a love hate thing with Starbucks. They were the first so-called specialty coffee shop that I visited. I hate to think about the crap that I was drinking before that. However, they’re now on every corner and that’s going to make a lot of people hate them. I wish there were more local coffee shops in my area, but the few that are around might not be here if it wasn’t for Starbucks. That all being said, it’s interesting watching the business moves they’re making. I don’t think they completely got their mojo back, but they are starting to care about the customer again in the corporate office.

  2. I find the beginning of this post funny. You say that starbucks coffee is sub par. Free or not i would still rather be drinking coffee that tastes good. Dawsons or the flying M roasts their coffee in house (or close by) their baristas know a thing or two about what they are serving. and its the same price.

    Flying M, brownstone, dawsons the all have a few things in common—– Free wifi, free drip refills, punch cards, and my favorite is uniqueness.

    This, to me seems like kind of a low blow to a local coffee shop. starbucks serves over 40 million people a day, and they open 5 new stores a day. do they really need to capture the local coffee shop demographic?>

    One thing that i do like about them is how good they treat their employees. Benefits, healthcare, scholarships……but its sort of bittersweet, because they are putting local shops out of business every day.


    Since you are the coffee guy…check this out. Starbucks is yet to arrive in India and we all got caught up in a debate why. SInce its not here i haven’t tasted it and can’t comment on that but why would a private enterprise care about local coffee scene. They would want to increase their market share all the time…wherever possible….Would you expect them to be considerate??
    Other than that great article, you use the language well!!

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