I like Starbucks Coffee. When I go there, I usually order a tall medium roast coffee, in a grande cup, topped up with cream, with sugar inside. If I am hungry, I also order a chicken Santa Fe panini. Starbucks coffee is always fresh; they grind the beans right before brewing the coffee, and they brew a new batch every 10 minutes.
Yesterday, Starbucks unveiled their new cup size exclusively for Middle East, which is bigger than their biggest cup “Venti”. “Burj” which means tower or skyscraper in Arabic. When I was in Saudi Arabia I used to go to Starbucks in Tahlia and hangout with my friends every weekend. It is a big 3-story store with a nice and friendly environment. Starbucks has a lot of stores all over my city “Jeddah”. It’s funny how people call it “Cancer Coffee”, because it spread in a short time. For example, if I walked to the main street near my home, I could see at least 3 Starbucks shops from where I would be.
My friend started working for Starbucks last week. She was telling me how the company focus on the quality of the products and customer service. During the week she was in training, she kept telling me things about the company’s history, mission, values, and so on. Some information was interesting… they opened their first store in 1971, in Seattle, but it was only in 2000 that they opened their first store in Saudi Arabia. Starbucks also owns the brands Seattle’s Best Coffee, Torrefazione Italia Coffee, and Tazo Tea.
Anyways, it seems that all new employees learn about the company, and are called “partners”, to create a sense of ownership. They learn how to prepare the beverages and food, but also learn how to serve the customer in a personal way. They are encouraged to interact with the customers as friends, by using their names, memorizing their usual beverages, and making them feel special. After all, their mission statement is “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.” And Howard Schultz, Starbucks Founder and Chairman, wrote the following on his book: “We’re in the people business serving coffee, not the coffee business serving people.”
I think that they don’t know my name and my usual order yet, because I am not a frequent customer and I sometimes go to the drive thru, which provides a different kind of interaction. Talking about the drive thru made me remember the lady that works at the McDonald’s Drive Thru at night. She must hate what she does, because she always seems to be in a bad mood. That is the total opposite of what Starbucks expects form their “partners”.