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February 23, 2007

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Well, then there we have .. a guy running a company that is an illiterate boob. Why on earth would he release something written so blatantly poor.

Deusx

He probably didn't release it. If the email was leaked, they can't deny its authenticity because the headers would prove that pretty quickly.

Jeff

Excuse me? There is nothing wrong with the writing. And by the way it's "poorly," not "poor."

I think it's a very appropriate letter for the Chairman to release, but is it too late.

Everything in our store is geared towards making more money. We partners have to try to surprise and delight despite the cheapening of everything.

A tiny little insignificant example: I picked up a recent tumbler and noticed that the bottom no longer says Starbucks nor Barista. It's just generic "Made in China" crap.

Remember the old game of "pass it on" conversation. By the end the message is completely different. It's the same with marketing decisions. You can test the heck out of the change from "A" to "B" and NOBODY can tell the difference. As you keep changing things and testing them the research still says no difference between "B" and "C," and on and on. At some point though the old trusted and loved "A" no longer exists.

poor / poorly - maybe but I am not the CEO of a major company.
If STBX does not return to a damn fine coffee company / third place they will begin to collapse under their own weight. It does not mean they will go away but they will diminish.

blondie

i really hope this does amazing things for the company, and fast. EVERYONE is starting to notice the diminishing quality, we must go back to the good ol' days.

my idea? open large specialty stores, like more of the ones with the big bins of coffee like howie said. oh and make sure you're hiring people who actually care about coffee.

And there's our expert opinion, ladies and gentlemen!

I, for one, am glad to hear what Howard has to say. Why? Because it's exactly what each and every Barista, Shift, Manager, DM, RDO and Area VP has been evangelising under their breath – now, we all have license to say it.

We've lost the connection, the romance, and the heritage. Coffee's our middle name, so why aren't we paying more attention to it.

Something tells me that category reps are going to be taking a bit of a beating over this one, cue the ugly merchandise.

I'll be interesting to see how the stock will react, seeing as how it got into "What's News" in the WSJ. Reuters hasn't picked it up yet, curiously.

DT

Wow. That's truly surprising IMO. But gratifying at the same time to see that "Uncle Howie" recognizes the problem. Unfortunately IMO, it is "too little to late" as the pressure from Wall Street and the stockholders will continue to drive the company in this direction in order to maximize the ROI for the large shareholders.

I think in a lot of ways Howard made this decision a long time ago when he brought Jim in, and he's just not really seeing what that has brought.

Very very interesting that it is authenticated though. Wow.

James The Barista

I think its still great PR, the best PR in the world. It makes Starbucks look more human, more orignal, more weak. Everyone loves a success story, when a business doesn't let growth bog them down and rise above that. I think its awesome that it got released or leaked, it doesn't matter. What matters is that everyone is thinking about how to make Starbucks better.

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL

I think Uncle Howie really does read this board and he has been reading what I have been writing. To all the haters out there, I never denied that I thought it was authentic or not because I thought it was however I of course reserved my judgement until there was actual confirmation. Also, to all you haters, do you still think corporate does not read this website? They check E-Bay to make sure proprietary technologies of Starbucks are not sold like black market arms.
I am glad that Starbucks has taken responsibility for having this communique leaked to the public and now I am also glad that Howard Schultz understands what the Starbucks Rebel Alliance is trying to return to. We are trying to bring back the passion and the romance which is our heritage. We have slowly watched the Company which we have "poured our hearts into" collapse and crumble. I hope my RDO Francesca has read this and my DM too because they both need to know that there are still partners out there who truly care. If they thought for a few minutes I think they could find me.
Remember this story.
If this was my first latte, my last latte and my only latte, then I will make sure that this is the best latte. Each latte that we create is like an aria. Each aria is unique because it fades away and never heard again. So therefore, each latte we make is there and fades away for that person. It is the first, last and only latte of its kind and its fades away. It whithers like a rose in vase or the passing of a sunset into the darkness of night.
Let us unite together and strive towards the heights of greatness and excellence!

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL
PRIMUS INTER PARES
STARBUCKS REBEL ALLIANCE

AndrewSeattle

I used to love Starbucks but honestly the machine switch changed the coffee for the worse. And I stopped going into the stores daily and now only go one or two times a week. Even a couple of the store managers in Seattle I know mentioned that the automatic machines were a bad move long term. BUT, rumor is the Starbucks in Madison Park (Seattle) still has the old machine. And that is the store Howard usually goes to since it is near his home.

DEVOTED STARBUCKS CUSTOMER

I am glad to hear from the top of the organization that Starbucks realizes it has watered down the customer experience. It is not only the automatic espresso machines and flavor lock bags. I was stunned when the retractable belt barriers were introduced in the stores in my area. And, just yesterday, I saw a Hawaiian Punch ice cooler/merchandiser to sell cold drinks. Tacky.

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL

If Howard Schultz was to say he wanted a meeting with me, then it would be at Boston in my apartment. Of course, there would be French Press of Anniversary Blend, yes I still have a little hidden away here. We could truly have a discussion about vision for the company and possibly how far we have strayed from where we started. Yet, I believe that we can still take the "Road Not Taken" and still realize we are something created anew. We are not like other companies because we are Starbucks. We recognize our purpose is "To provide an uplifting experience that enriches people's daily lives."
As in any situation we need to make comprehensive plans on how to transform the company back. Yes, it requires attention to detail. Every detail from making sure that the pitcher is rinsed after each use, to making sure that a Starbucks partner can actually describe the differences between Guatemala Antigua, Colombia Narino Supremo and House Blend.
I think its horrible that a Starbucks partner is unable to lead a coffee tastig. What has happened?!?! I only know of a few store managers who actually take the time to train partners in this. This is unacceptable. We are Starbucks Coffee, COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE!
Pink came out with a song "Dear Mr. President" well I would simply change it to "Dear Uncle Howie/Come take a walk with me/Let's pretend we're just two people and/You're not better than me/I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly/How do you walk with your head held high/Can you even look me in the eye/And tell me why/Dear Uncle Howie/You'd never take a walk with me/Would you?"

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL
PRIMUS INTER PARES
STARBUCKS REBEL ALLIANCE

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL

Just to let any media outlets know, if you quote anything that I have written I would appreciate if you could attribute it to the BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL because I do not like being hinted as "some poster writes" or "it was written that" because I believe in correct citing of the sources. Yes, you may reveal that it was what I said and that I do agree with everything that Howard Schultz wrote in his epistle to Starbucks senior leadership. His mind is that of a rebel because he too wishes to return to the core and tradition of Starbucks.
It is no surprise that the Alliance and Allies both fought against the coming darkness which threatens to change our way of life. Yes, the Starbucks Rebel Alliance will fight the Axis of Evil to the very last barista. And we shall prevail because our cause is just and right and true. Nothing can stop us because we are Starbucks. Hearken to us and hear our passionate voices.

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL
PRIMUS INTER PARES
STARBUCKS REBEL ALLIANCE

jabanga

this is all very interesting. it seems awfully strange to me that howard would ever communicate with his ceo in an email such as that. however, since he apparently did i wonder if this email in conjuction with his recent memo to all partners is:

a) an effort to try to publicly steer the company away from the direction it has been heading because by focusing on "competing" with dunkin' donuts and the like the company sacrificed what made it special...

b) howard just finally saying enough is enough.

the fact is after 14 years of great success with the stock price jim donald has promised wall street the world and instead the stock has gone flat. i was definitely literally managed out of the company because of my resistance to the core changes in the way the company did business and my disgust with the new leadership. i once had the utmost respect for howard but the fact is by setting the bar high for his company i felt he was even more accountable for standing by as a cheerleader and allowed jim sleazebag donald to sell-out the integrity of the company and the brand. howard, i would love to see you take control back, slow down the ridiculous rapid expansion and put the focus back where it belongs: exceptional product and service provided by a workforce that is truly treated with respect and dignity. oh, and while your at it: show jim the door! any chance you could get howard behar to come back? if you did, i might even come back.

LIVE FREE OR DIE

Howard Schultz speaks the truth, WORD! Maybe he can get around to correcting my ASM. Craziness. And yes, I can confirm there was a verbal argument today at a Starbucks here in Boston. Apparently it was about getting names on cups and how some people make the schedule so they don't open and make other people open over and over again! Craziness. I think Howard Schultz needs to read the negative comments made about Starbucks and sit down with baristas, not RDOs, not DMs, not SM, not ASMs, not SS, baristas who are on the front line each and every day.

LIVE FREE OR DIE
Libertas inaestimabilis res est
STARBUCKS REBEL ALLIANCE

K

When I first read the "e-mail" below I definitely thought it was something the Howard would write. I worked with the company for years and have noticed the decline in quality ever since I first started.

People are less passionate about the brand and even worse, the coffee. Not to mention that Starbucks has gotten so big and competitive that it seems to be steering away from its main product - COFFEE. Now Starbucks has their own music, stuffed animals, plastic pitchers and glasses in the summers, quotes on cups and now books. It makes me wonder what's next in its worldwide markets.

I'll be honest, I love the company but if I want a well-made cup of coffee I'm going to the small coffee shop down the street where they care more about their product. I'm glad to hear Howard's concerned too, it makes me give just a little credit back to Starbucks.

Rudy

as a born and raised sea-town resident (major SE city last 13 yrs.) and 3 yr. *$ mgr; Howard realized now he sold his soul out to devil and wants a refund? I was a manager in the late 90's and it was a SLAP IN THE FACE to have to receive and take his book about never selling out and then get a memo about the deal with Pepsi- HUH? When I had to endure mgr meetings where people hated on the fact i learned espresso on a piston machine (yes, most of you have no idea what im talking about); Starbucks is THE case study for how t market a product to the point where you cant live without it but Howards comments is real data about what happens when you believe your own lie; look at the numbers, FraP is your leading gross sales product; thats coffee? If you believe that...

till next time

Rudy

as a born and raised sea-town resident (major SE city last 13 yrs.) and 3 yr. *$ mgr; Howard realized now he sold his soul out to devil and wants a refund? I was a manager in the late 90's and it was a SLAP IN THE FACE to have to receive and take his book about never selling out and then get a memo about the deal with Pepsi- HUH? When I had to endure mgr meetings where people hated on the fact i learned espresso on a piston machine (yes, most of you have no idea what im talking about); Starbucks is THE case study for how t market a product to the point where you cant live without it but Howards comments is real data about what happens when you believe your own lie; look at the numbers, FraP is your leading gross sales product; thats coffee? If you believe that...

till next time

DT

true that Rudy. And exactly why tomorrow is my last day and although I feel slightly bad, I don't feel THAT bad.

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL

Wow! Who would've thought that don't spell like coffee. ROFL! (Breakfast sandwiches)! I will make a point of remembering that Cramer enjoys a triple venti non-fat wet cappuccino!

soy_latte

Sigh, a piston machine. If only.

A less frequent customer

The timing of this news is so ironic. I have a neice who just quit her job with Starbucks in Little Rock. We were discussing it yesterday on the phone, as she still thinks it is the greatest thing since peanut butter. I used to go there frequently, but not so much since it has become so, as they say "cookie cutter" and so commercial. My exact words to her was to "Enjoy it while it lasts as it will soon be yesterday's news, and your friends will be on to the next new thing". She is a senior in High School and said "NO WAY". I asked her if she remembered TCBY. She does, but only from a convenience store down the road that sells soft serve chocolate or vanilla. There is no store anymore. TCBY (This Can't Be Yogurt for anyone who is too young to remember or no longer has one in their town) was once as popular as Starbucks. It BEGAN in Little Rock. The drive through was a mile long, as were the lines to get in the stores even in winter. I do hope it isn't too late, but I am still amazed that I just commented to her yesterday that it was on it's way out of being a "Standout Franchise". Good Luck Starbucks. I miss the way the store used to make me feel when I was there.

jh

The memo from Mr. Schultz is right on target and perfectly expresses what I've felt about Starbucks for quite a while. I've been a Starbucks customer for many years and it's been sad to see the stores lose their personality and ambiance as more and more of them popped up. Today, many are just lifeless dispensers of lousy coffee. With someone like Schultz at the top, I know Starbucks can reverse this trend.

Jim

The thing is that Howard may be correct but will anything actually be done? The problem for Starbucks is the same problem for many companies that start out well and that is they lose their soul for the bottomline. Not anything wrong with making money and a lot of it mind you, but in a large corporate environment decisions are made simply for the sake of the bottomline. Cookie cutter stores, for example, are CHEAPER to build and therefore more profitable in the long term and will have more of a positive effect on the bottomline. The pun is not intended here, but this has happened to most every major US company when the bean counters start making the decisions.
I call this the McDonald's syndrome. When I was in high school in the early 70s, McD's actually cooked burgers fresh in the store, toasted the buns, were kept spotless, etc. The bean counters, in the effort to increase the bottomline, moved away from these basic principles that made McDonald's great by convincing management that more money could be made if they did X, Y, or Z. In the end, it costs bottomline because quality suffers tremendously and the soul of the business is lost never realizing that increasing food quality is the best way to gain business and keep the business you have. Starbucks is heading down this same path and Howie knows it. Quality is suffering, the experience is being lost and Starbucks is about to become sick with the McDonald's Syndrome. Quality Howie, not quantity is what makes a business grow and keeps customers. Just ask Toyota if you don't believe that.

refreshing

Very refreshing to see a boss give such a perceptive assessment of the shortcomings of his baby. In my own nearby Starbucks (downtown NYC) the staff for the most part appear to be going through the motions in front of a big, automated machine, shouting shorthand terms for the drink orders that further depersonalize the whole affair. There's little in the coffee-making experience that telegraphs "this is a local neighborhood coffee shop where folks might get to know or care about me." This is not a dig on the people, it's an observation about the process. The experience says "chain" not "neighborhood coffee shop." Then there's the surreal fact that, surprisingly often there will be a fly trapped in the pastry case, buzzing around in there. I only go to that Starbucks a few times a month, and yet I see the trapped-fly issue recurring. Guess what I never order. Pastries.

I realize the fly might represent a separate problem from what the boss was writing about. Or does it?

Barista of the Millenium

I've been with the company for over 2 years and have felt like the Starbucks experience has dwindled during that duration. I'm tired of trying to convince people to buy stuff they don't need or want. I'm glad this email was leaked to the public and am excited to see how things change in the future.

anss

The main thing standing in the way of the third place, from what I've seen, is the huge amount of attention given to getting zero varience on labor. We could connect with more people if we had more people to make the connection. Say put a barista in the cafe during peak times and they can chat up the customers, offer samples, offer help, ask how your drink is, etc. You can still be a busy store and pull off the third place. One thing I don't know about is how well getting the old machines back would go over in some stores. If a store is doing 40k a week with three verisimos, then think about how long it would take to serve that amount of customers on a machine with four manual group heads. You'd have to build even more stores than we already have to serve your customers.

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL

So build those stores and make sure they are staffed by the baristas who know how to create the "Third Place." Otherwise, lets not doing anything at all. We have created something that is out of control and now when we take a moment to reflect what happens? We fail utterly and soon Starbucks may become a byword for ages to come.

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL
PRIMUS INTER PARES
STARBUCKS REBEL ALLIANCE

sbuxmanager

Anss, I got news for you. A four group La Marrazoco is far faster than a Verisimo. If you're really good, it's faster than two. And all the shots taste way better. The big issue is repetetive strain injuries.

kilroy

I've been watching things as the partner of a partner. Ever since big Jim - the pathmart expert showed up that's what the company has gotten , the expertise of a bankruptcy specialist. I saw 5 out of 6 employees (partners and dedicated people) quit $70,000 plus jobs to escape their new rust belt boss who may understand the culture of Cleveland but has no idea of the corporate culture in Seattle; let alone Starbucks.If its like this at headquarters what can you expect in the field. Its going to take alot more than new espresso machines.We'll have to see what Howard says after the dancers clear the stage at the shareholders meeting.

anss

SBUXMANAGER,

I've been around for a while and worked on both types of machines. I've worked with the "best of the best" on the old machines and he even admitted the first day we got the Verisimos in that store that they were way faster. "Didn't even feel like we had a rush" was another comment he had. Same guy was known at the other stores in the district for being really good and fast on the machine.

Howard Shultz just needs to continue to channel his Il Giornale's "Hermes-Mercury" as messenger for the Starbucks brand.

His staff, called a caduceus is the symbol used in connection with healing.

He is clever, bold, determined, and a powerful magician who can charm monsters with his lyre music (think 'Siren' Song)

No major weakness (unless you count seldom staying still for long). Hermes has it together!

Hermes is the herald of the gods and Zeus used him as a troubleshooter and secret-agent type, dispatching him to take care of assorted problems...

100xxx7

i left the company last month after almost 7 years...no longer felt any of the magic i did in the early 00s. i really miss the simplicity of our old menu (the new ones aren't even legible! it's all about more more more and we lost a lot of the quality of our old products) there is way too much focus on cds/books/merchandise/sandwiches/hot breakfast food/mints & gum galore. all of that takes away from the COFFEE ... i am most thankful for health insurance and stock options over the years but my heart sinks when i think of the way i used to feel when working in the store. remember inviting customers to art openings and bringing them treats when they were sick. and regular make your mark events. the last couple of years i started to feel like a robot and lost touch with the company. stuck around a few extra years to see if that feeling would come back. sad to say i gave up. **

btw, it's sensory overload in the cafe! holy cow. i know a bit about growth and change but it's getting out of hand. {sigh}

** btw, i'm not really that bitter, just a little teary-eyed and wanted to vent. ;)

sbuxmanager

Howard,

If you DO actually read this site, please let me tell you why one day in the next few months will be changing my handle to ex-sbuxmanager.

It's all the reasons you listed in your memo plus more. It's because you have moved so far away from the operational aspect of the stores, that you barely know what it is really going on at the level that really matters (partner to customer). I always find it laughable that when we really need to add an extra person on the floor it can't be done because that would mean not making 0% variance to ideal. When you are in town however, I get calls and e-mails from my RDO and DM saying that Howard is in NYC, so make sure to add an extra person at night. Imagine that...when the store actually needs an extra person (during the morning or early afternoon) to make the experience more legendary for the customer, its treated as an impossibility. But since you stay a few blocks from my store when you're in NYC, we need an extra person at night. You go into stores and you don't even realize the dog and pony show that is being put on for you. It's to the extent that when you have a bad experience, like when a Shift Supervisor on the east side told you that the store didn't have short cups, you are genuinley shocked and angry; the reality is that bad experiences like that happen all the time. And when you're not around, the stores are not as clean and the experience not as legendary.

When problems arise, the senior management team makes action plans, (like the "merchant mentality" action plan in NYC) that make themselves feel better about setting expectations, but are so far removed from reality that it's almost laughable at the store level. On the 3 new action plans in NYC, none of the stated obstacles mention chronic understaffing even though many stores clearly have that problem. (For those of you in NYC, ask your SM to see them if you haven't heard about them already). The worst part is that any voice of dissent or even questioning is career suicide. If you question, you're told that can't really deal with ambiguity...what a crock.

It's so plainly obvious that most decisions are made soley for profit that I have even contemplated doing the unthinkable. Despite the fact that I am against almost everything they stand for, every day I consider contacting the IWW and offering internal Starbucks information to help them win concessions for my baristas. The IWW is (in my opinion) wrong about most things, but they are right about one thing: the stores are chronically understaffed and the expectations for the poorly staffed stores are too high. We need more people on the floor, and if it takes helping the IWW from keeping my partners from being taken advantage of, then I just might do that.

Two years ago, Howard, I met you in Seattle. I was dumbstruck and tounge-tied when I shook your hand. (It happens to many SMs). Last May, in Brooklyn, I met you again. You seemed genuinley suprised that I was so non-challant about meeting you. The reason is that I have lost faith in you Howard, and I have lost faith in the company that we all built together.

Some people might just call me a "burnt bean" or something, and I admit that I am. But I know this. I care deeply about this company, but you have lost me. Please stop ruining this company before you lose more.

(Almost ex-)sbuxmanager

DT

AMEN to that SBUXMANAGER

jabanga

DT enjoy your last day.

DT

LOL...actually jabanga...after consultation with those wiser then me (aka my parents) I realized that quitting outright and having no health insurance while I look for another job would be a bad thing (blame my mother, she has this phobia about never being a day without insurance). So I have reconsidered and I am just going to demote down to barista and work my 25 hours a week to keep my insurance while I look for another job (which hopefully won't take all that long).

don'tletthedoorhityourassleaving

Nice one Sbuxmanager!
Going on 8 years and still passing management. That's most likely why I'm at 8 years...I've surpassed every manager I've been through. Their turnover is sickening...but it keeps the payroll low overall. Push them through the system...who cares about the product they're pushing...just keep the numbers to your DM's delight. Why am I training some managers as a barista?
I tried to transfer to another store as an SS but had to step down because I was "the expensive one" and would've been auto-fired after my leave of absence if I hadn't punched into any store by a certain date. Is it my fault I liked my job/ there were numerous cost of living increases in my area/ and I kicked ass and got raises signed off by DM's?
My store has needed many SS's since I've been there as a barista and I'm not getting my old position back because the DM knows I'm not touching management above an SS. "Have you been considering management yet?" "No, I'm going to school for my MBA and need to focus on that." "Wrong answer." the DM said. Can you believe that crap? What comes around goes around.
Anyone remember the "Star Skills"? Apparently they don't apply to those that would rather pass up operational management and delve into administrative management.
You can't spell VENTING without VENTI!

wsj_reader-sbux_drinker

Who remembers when Starbucks made the claim, "If you shot of espresso sits for more than1 10 seconds, we will pull a fresh one for you."

I do. I remember it everytime a barista making 5 drinks at a time lines up 5 cups where the espresso shot went straight into the cup, and the steamed milk was pouded into the cups as if they were on an assembly line.

To top that, when I drink black coffee, why did Starbucks do away with the coffee only lines during busy hours?

Wait, I know. I need to ponder if I want to buy the new Norah Jones CD while I'm waiting to get my morning cup of coffee.

Howard's memo is the Truth.

smalrus

john,

interestingly enough, the financial times is also reporting on the leaked memo, specifically citing starbucksgossip.com as the leak's reporter. while they dont report authentication, its interesting to read don gher's reaction to the memo.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/dd2f1a4c-c391-11db-9047-000b5df10621.html

wsj_reader-sbux_drinker

A public company loses sight of it's once private goals.

If Starbucks doesn't either grow it's reveneues and net income or pay a dividend, it will lose favor in investor's eyes. Shareholders will lose money. The company's valuation will fall, and McDonalds or Wendy's or someother fast food chain will buy out the shareholders. Then where will you be?

It is the curse of going public. You are either getting bigger or getting smaller. Nothing stays the same. To take a specialty concept and grow it, your biggest risk is the dilution of quality.

Well, the risk is now reality.

A small private company can survive and be comfortable by providing the early Starbucks' experience. A multi-billion $ public company's shareholders won't let that happen.

In reply to the person who remembers when a shot sat for more than 10 seconds a new one was made, I remember. Going into a store now and getting a drink remade to your specifications, is a very unpleasant experience. I remember when B's were told, "if a customer brings in a wrong drink from another store, you will remake the drink." The supervisors now say that their budgets will not allow them to do so. They tell you to take the drink back to the original store. What if you are traveling or in a huge hurry and cannot do so?

I wish another coffee enterprise would begin to give a real coffe house experience.

Rick

From the Seattle Times article regarding the memo: 'He laments that some decisions have resulted in "stores that no longer have the soul of the past and reflect a chain of stores vs. the warm feeling of a neighborhood store."'

You think so? Glad to see Howard has finally noticed this after opening several thousand stores.

-Rick, Seattle

Bladerunner

Howard I hope you do read this site. I've worked for Starbucks for over 6 years. And the changes, what you have written your memo about is true. There is a rot that needs to be removed. Or this dream will die, and become anouther corporate monster. Start talking to partners across the country, that have been with the company for more then 5 years. Listen , take suggestions, and then get rid of some of your upper and middle management.
There are so many things wrong. That to start a list would only seem a rant, at best. But maybe one.Labor hours. Squeezzzz. Productivity verses time with the customer, crafting drinks. Selling coffee, not trinkets from China.
It seems from your memo, you have been getting some of the real stories, and have began to understand. Take a few weeks,travel around the country. Ask some questions of those of us around for more then a few years, at the same stores, that have thought about walking out the door, company with no stock options or health care. Do it before its to late!

coffee soulmate

Dear Howard, the first time i walked into a Starbucks i thought i died and went to coffee heaven (14 yrs ago)I have been a partner for 5 and have watched as our RM and DM have sucked the life out of our store. Because according to allmighty DM our little book shelf had to go along with our beautifull plants and chess and checkers because ALL SBUX IN HIS DISTRECT MUST LOOK THE SAME. The automated machines suck Howard and YOU know it. I will go out of my way to go to Peets or an indie shop on my day off. How could you take away the very heart and soul of the coffee house experience. You are so very out of touch, Please care enough to talk to the Baristas, they are the life blood of your company. And you are right about the stores not having a coffee smell anymore. It's all too sad.

sbuxmanager

Addendum:

And now my store doesn't even smell like coffee...it smells like microwaved eggs.

GROSS!

jabanga

DT a hint about keeping your benefits: count your hours paid for this quarter and if you are already up at about 200-240 or more you can pretty much coast for the rest of the quarter and then your benefits will last all the way until the end of july no matter what as long as you keep working at all. that is what i did when i left a year ago. i'm amazed they let you recant your notice though. they must really like you or need you.

justme

Huge problem, training I mean lack of training. I've worked for Starbucks for 4 years. I've trained many baristas ( over30+ in Indiana we open a lot of stores in one year ) and might I say, they are well trained many going on to SS. I learned to be a trainer at the Starbucks training class. During years 1 and 2 I was set up to use the approved non coverage hours set aside for training to give my full attention to the newbies. I was the main training coach for a big portion of their learning experience. During years 3 and 4 I have not seen that non coverage time or training leadership being used. Instead the managers now let just anyone train. They require the person training to also do their regular job. The newbies are put on the floor and the managers tell who ever is available to show them how to do STUFF. And usually the people (yes often SS) who are showing them STUFF are mediocre at best themselves. Thus the newly trained person is learning watered down nearly worthless skills and procedures. Then in the near future when the newbie is coached to change somethings that they are doing incorrectly they will argue with you. They tell you that it is how they were trained and how everyone else is doing it (apparently when your not looking). Walking the fine line between respectfully coaching and not saying that the person who trained you was inept is tricky. They feel frustrated and confused and sometimes their freindship now with the trainer is solid and their attitude to correct their behavior becomes a loyalty of passive resistance. We usually have a store full of this now days and presto a business of moderate quality is born.

Joseph Michelli

I was interviewed on CNBC's "On the Money" program about the Howard memo. What a great demonstration of the tension between successful growth and the preservation of core identity. I believe in The Starbucks Experience and the commitment of this company to strive for it - even in a commoditized world. Joseph Michelli, author of The Starbucks Experience drjosephm.podbean.com

JJ

no kidding....I mean - who in the hell cares about Starbucks "finding their soul..???" are you people for real?

If you have to ponder this "lost soul of yours" ... I mean.. a coffee shop..?!?!

This is like saying WalMart needs to get back in touch with their customers. Give me a break.

What I really do find entertaining and valuable about this little piece of "news" is that as I am opening my small, comfortable coffee shop, with free wireless and an open network - a few workstations for folks to hop online - my La Marzocco will be churning out quality drinks that people can pronounce and afford - I mean honestly - their "loss" is definately my gain. Thank You Starbucks, not only for the tasty drinks over the years - but for becoming a mega-chain!

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