It once seemed as if there might one day be a McDonald's restaurant on every corner. But although there are certainly a large number of the venerable hamburger restaurants around today, Starbucks Corporation has, at least for the time being, replaced McDonald's as the highest profile and fastest growing food and beverage company in the United States. Starbucks was started in Seattle in 1971 by three coffee aficionados. Their primary business at the time was buying premium coffee beans, roasting them, and then selling the coffee by the pound. The business performed modestly well and soon grew to nine stores, all in the Seattle area. The three partners sold Starbucks to a former employee, Howard Schultz, in 1987. Schultz promptly reoriented the business away from bulk coffee mail-order sales and emphasized retail coffee sales through the firm's coffee bars. Today, Starbucks is not only the largest coffee importer and roaster of specialty beans in the United States but also the country's largest specialty coffee bean retailer. What is the key to the extraordinary growth and success of the Starbucks chain? One important ingredient is its well conceived and implemented strategy. Starbucks is on a phenomenal growth pace, opening a new coffee shop somewhere almost every day. But this growth is planned and coordinated at each step of the way through careful site selection. And through its astute promotional campaigns and commitment to quality, the firm has elevated the coffee-drinking taste of millions of Americans and fueled a significant increase in demand.
Starbucks has also created an organization that promotes growth and success. Managers at each store have considerable autonomy over how they run things, as long as the firm's basic principles are followed. Starbucks also uses a state-of-the-art communication network to keep in contact with its employees.
Another ingredient to Starbucks success is its relationship with its employees. The firm hires relatively young...
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