I admit it. I’m a Starbucks addict.
It started in Cincinnati with my general manager who had a 3 Starbucks a day habit. He would walk by my office every morning and say, “let’s grab a Starbucks.” It was great quality time to brainstorm ideas with him. My labor attorney also hung out there…so I could get free legal advice for the company too!
When I moved from Cinci to Fort Lauderdale, I just had to find my Starbucks. I’ll never forget the first time I found a Starbucks around the corner from my home. People walked in and the baristas knew their name and their drink. Didn’t even have to speak…they just walked it and their java-du-jour was waiting for them.
This prompted me to develop what is now known as “The Starbucks Experiment.” I went into the same Starbucks every day until the barista knew my name and my drink. Because it’s easy to remember ‘grande drip’, I pulled a Linda Evangelista and ordered something unusual – a grande, non-fat, no foam, extra hot, sugar-free vanilla latte.
I was impressed. In less than two weeks, they knew my name and my drink. Later, one of the baristas quit and went to work at the local bagel shop…and when I came in, she knew my name. I wasn’t even in a Starbucks!
That was the magic of Starbucks.
I have no clue when they lost it. But, somewhere along the line, they lost the magic. The company’s growth strategy seems to have drained it out of them. The result? A noticeable decrease in customer service. Now they’re faced with store closings, employee layoffs and their first net loss since going public.
I’m thrilled to see Howard Schultz at the helm again. Let’s hope he can help them get their mojo back.
I’m praying for Starbucks.1