Hospitality CL 343
Starbucks began in 1971 as any other café. It wasn’t until a trip to Milan, Italy in 1983 by Howard Shultz that Starbucks began making changes. In Italy people were coming to cafés to get premium coffee, but also were sitting and enjoying their coffee over conversation or relaxation. In America customers more frequently got their coffee in a rush and weren’t too concerned with quality. Shultz came back with the notion to make Starbucks a premium coffee house with personal customer service and atmosphere for relaxation and conversation. Starbucks has slowly been perfecting the perfect roast, perfect brew, and even the perfect pour. It trains its partners to be baristas, not just employees at a coffee house. This is one large contributing factor to the price Starbucks has been able to put on its coffee. Costumers know they aren’t just paying for an extraordinary cup of coffee made to perfection, but also to the personal experience of having the cup of coffee made just for them, by name, by a friendly barista. The customer knows that they will get the same quality of service regardless of time of day, who’s working, and even city and state. They can get their cup of coffee and enjoy unlimited free wi-fi, music in a relaxing environment, or a variety of sandwiches or salads available. (http://www.starbucks.com/about-us/our-heritage) While Starbucks has been growing faster by each year, many people felt that the company was saturating the market and hurting small coffee shops. On July 1, 2008 Starbucks announced that they would be closing 600 of their underperforming stores as well as retarding U.S. expansion plans because of the economies uncertainty. Later that month they also cut nearly 1000 non-retail jobs in their attempt to revamp the brand and boost profits once again. This was the first time the company had hit a plateau in growth since 1996. ("Coffee Crisis? Starbucks Closing 600...