Coffee and Starbucks

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  • Topic: Starbucks, Coffee, Espresso
  • Pages : 37 (14811 words )
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  • Published : September 15, 2008
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had enjoyed phenomenal growth and become one of the great retailing stories of recent history by making exceptional coffee drinks and selling dark-roasted coffee beans and coffee-making equipment that would allow customers to brew an exceptional cup of coffee at home. The Starbucks brand was regarded as one of the best known and most potent brand names in America and the company had firmly established itself as the dominant retailer, roaster, and brand of specialty coffee in North America. It already had over 1,500 stores in North America and the Pacific Rim and was opening new ones at a rate of more than one per day. Sales in fiscal year 1997 were a record $967 million and profits reached an all-time high of $57.4 million. The company's closest competitor had fewer than 300 retail locations. And since going public in 1992, Starbucks has seen its stock price increase nearly ninefold. Exhibit 1 contains a summary of Starbucks key performance statistics for the 1992–97 period. Company Background

Starbucks began in 1971 when three academics—English teacher Jerry Baldwin, history teacher Zev Siegel, and writer Gordon Bowker—opened a store called Starbucks Coffee, Tea, and Spice in the touristy Pikes Place Market in Seattle. The three partners shared a love of fine coffees and exotic teas and believed they could build a clientele in Seattle much like that which had already emerged in the San Francisco Bay area. Each invested $1,350 and borrowed another $5,000 from a bank to open the Pikes Place store. Baldwin, Siegel, and Bowker chose the name Starbucks in honor of Starbuck, the coffee-loving first mate in Herman Melville's Moby Dick(so company legend has it), and because they thought the name evoked the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders. The new company's logo, designed by an artist friend, was a two-tailed mermaid encircled by the store's name. The inspiration for the Starbucks enterprise was a Dutch immigrant, Alfred Peet, who had begun importing fine arabica coffees into the United States during the 1950s. Peet viewed coffee as a fine winemaker views grapes, appraising it in terms of country of origin, estates, and harvests. Peet had opened a small store, Peet's Coffee and Tea, in Berkeley, California, in 1966 and had cultivated a loyal clientele. Peet's store specialized in importing fine coffees and teas, dark-roasting its own beans the European way to bring out their full flavor, and teaching customers how to grind the beans and make freshly brewed coffee at home. Baldwin, Siegel, and Bowker were well acquainted with Peet's expertise, having visited his store on numerous occasions and spent many hours listening to Peet expound on quality coffees and the importance of proper bean-roasting techniques. All three were devoted fans of Peet and his dark-roasted coffees, going so far as to order their personal coffee supplies by mail from Peet's.

The Pikes Place store featured modest, hand-built nautical fixtures. One wall was devoted to whole-bean coffees; another had shelves of coffee products. The store did not offer fresh-brewed coffee by the cup, but samples were sometimes available for tasting. Initially, Siegel was the only paid employee. He wore a grocer's apron, scooped out beans for customers, extolled the virtues of fine, dark-roasted coffees, and functioned as the partnership's retail expert. The other two partners kept their day jobs but came by at lunch or after work to help out. During the start-up period, Baldwin kept the books and developed a growing knowledge of coffee; Bowker served as the "magic, mystery, and romance man."1 The store was an immediate success, with sales exceeding expectations, partly because of a favorable article in the Seattle Times. In the early months, each of the founders traveled to Berkeley to learn more about coffee roasting from their mentor, Alfred Peet, who urged them to keep deepening their knowledge of coffees and teas. For...
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