Thursday, January 21, 2010

Stealth Starbucks Follow-Up

The New York Times has a story about the Starbucks-owned coffeehouse in Seattle, Roy Street Coffee and Tea, that I wrote about earlier. I give Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, full credit for trying to turn his enormous company around. Trying local, and local-feeling, coffeehouses without using the Starbucks name is OK with me if it produces actual third places that serve good coffee.

I was surprised by one detail in the Times story that they do not comment on: Roy Street Coffee and Tea serves microbrew beer. I have never heard of a Starbucks serving alcohol before. Has anyone else run across this development elsewhere?


Anonymous said...

The irony is that people begin to hate companies and people as soon as they become too popular/large. Starbucks is no exception. Seems like Roy realizes that fact.

Gruntled said...

I don't think it is simply size and popularity. Starbucks was huge and still hip. It was when they started declining against their own standards - the baristas didn't really know much about coffee, they introduced too many sweet drinks, too many stores were driven by the drive-through window, too few made any real effort to be third places, the stores were too cluttered with non-coffee merchandise - that people began to get disenchanted.

Anonymous said...

Maybe that's what happens when a company gets to big for real quality control?

I buy coffee in bulk from Walmart but wish Starbucks well.