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March 07, 2008

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Sheik

BREAKING NEWS!!

My manager told me today the new Summer Frappuccino revolves around the new Passion Fruit syrup!!! Oh boy what will they come out with next...

Discuss!!

Sheik:
What Passion Fruit syrup?

ProductWoes

has anyone had problems with their Starbucks thermos's being utter pieces of crap? no matter how tightly I put the top on, when I pour coffee into it's little cup, the seam from the bottle to pour top gets all leaky.

Jonathan

I wish I could work in the product development department. Here are some flavors I think would really sell:

Cherry syrup. Come on, Starbucks! This would sell like hotcakes. Cherry mochas, cherry white mochas, cherry chocolate chip frappuccinos, oh my!

Toasted marshmallow syrup. This in a hot chocolate or mocha would be divine. This could be a great fall/holiday lineup addition.

Dark Chocolate Mocha. I could already picture the marketing for this -- come try the Mocha Trio -- White Mocha, Mocha, and Dark Mocha! YUM!

Pistachio sauce. Personally, I think this could be an AWESOME holiday addition. Pistachio mochas, anyone? Pistachio cremes? It's green -- which is festive -- and we know these two flavors go well together -- just think of spumoni ice cream. Delicious!

Spiced apple oatmeal latte. Yum!

What do you all think?

Jonathan

ShoNuff

The mocha syrup is already dark mocha, isn't it? And the Sbux in the Barnes & Noble around here had toasted marshmallow syrup for Christmas...

Roslyn

I wish they'd bring back the Blueberry frappucino's...

Sheik

Passion fruit syrup is coming Summer Phase 1, or so my manager says. It'll be passion fruit cream frappuccino and he also said there will be a recipe for using coffee base as well.

Also (and I think this may be a lie), he said Chantico returns next fall along with PSL.

Who knows!!

Jonathan

Other ideas --

Creme Brulee Latte
Pina Colada Creme Frappuccino
Sweet Praline Latte
Banana Mocha (actual banana syrup, not puree)

We can dream, can't we...

Tim

Here's what I've heard, re: syrups this year, starting with what we already know.

Almond, out.
Orange, out.
Juicy Raspberry, out.
Honey, in.
Passion Fruit, in.
Valencia, in.
Sugar Free Mocha, out at the end of the FY.

I do agree that cherry would be great, but the whole thing now is to decrease our syrup offerings and get back to basics. As much as some of the flavours Jonathan suggested sound delicious, it kind of defeats the purpose of streamlining our syrups when we come out with an s-load of new ones to replace them.

And at this point, all I see is that we've gotten rid of four syrups just to bring in three new ones. Net loss = 1 syrup. :p

Tim

Also, Jonathan, creme brulée has already been done at European Starbucks. I had a Creme Brulée frappuccino in Austria and again in Spain.

It was very similar to Dulce de Leche.

Piña Colada would be great, but they'd have to bring back coconut for a third time to do that and I don't think Seattle's too keen on risking it again.

dManagerLA

jonathan is a genius!
not so sure about the toasted marshmellow, but everything else sounds fabulous!!!
especially the cherry!
pistachio sounds like such a treat!

i miss valencia too!
mocha valencia was my once a year treat to myself!

soybeanintraining

*misses coconut syrup*

I think the cherry syrup would be a big seller. It wouldn't be too different from the juicy raspberry, which is quite popular. Mmm cherry cream frappuccinos...

Anyway, that would be AMAZING if we get a passion fruit syrup. Any of the old schoolers remember the Tazoberry frappuccinos? I miss those things so much. I think the passion fruit cream frappuccinos would taste quite similar.

*campaigns for Jonathan to be hired into the Product Development Department*

Sheik

Speaking of Dulce de Leche is that coming back this year??

Jonathan

Re: pina colada, we wouldn't have to bring coconut back. Pina colada would be its own syrup, and I imagine this one might actually work with the coffee based frappuccinos. Hell, if the banana coconut can work with the coffee base, I imagine a coconut-pineapple combo could as well.

I love new flavors, lol.

J

There will not be passion fruit or valencia and Chantico is not coming back. Trust me.

"Valencia, in."

I hope so.

Valencia will NOT be returning.

tracy

chantico? please no. anything but that.

we used to have a customer come in every week or so and order a venti size.

ugh. then we had a partner that would drink it iced. or at room temp.

blech.

Jake

The problem with Cherry syrup is how do you make it NOT taste like cough syrup.

And since when is Juicy Raspberry "out"? We just recieved notice that it was being added as a Core syrup (in January I believe).

Our Mocha is already a dark chocolate.

Barnes & Noble stores do NOT have Starbucks in them...they are Barnes & Noble Cafes that SERVE Starbucks products...they recieve no Starbucks training and do not follow Starbucks standards.

Some Barnes & Noble stores do have actual Starbuck's inside the store. Most just serve Starbuck's products, but some really are Starbuck's locations!

Jake: "Barnes & Noble stores...receive no Starbucks training and do not follow Starbucks standards."

Well, yes, actually we do to both statements. But just like any Starbucks or licensed store, we are only as good as the baristas who are hired and the managers who train them & enforce the standards. I'll admit that most B&N cafes have far more problems with meeting drink standards on a consistent basis, but not at mine (because I won't put up with it). I care a lot about making sure our customers receive the same quality drink from us as they would at any Starbucks, but it can be an uphill battle with B&N corporate. Try to remember that a) we are using ridiculously inferior espresso machines that make your troubles with a Verisimo seem trivial b) corporate judges us on upselling to venti on every..damn..sale no matter what & shilling that stupid $25 a year member card to every...single...customer, sooo Drink quality is waaaayy down on their list of concerns. This allows incompetent managers & poorly trained baristas to get away with murder. I have never ever heard of a barista getting reprimanded, written up, or *gasp* fired for putting out consistently terrible drinks. But all 3 of these things happen on a regular basis if you get caught not upselling or selling memberships. Starbucks Corp if you are listening...Get a handle on B&N cafes & demand better oversight & structure within the cafe department!

ohbee

My thoughts on the syrup issue...
Cherry- no thanks.
pina colada- we used to make them (coconut in a vanilla bean) tasted very similar. this is a syrup i really miss. what i would do for another banana coconut frapp..
juicy ras- is this really disappearing?
Honey=- blechhh
toasted marshmallow- i tried a toasted marsh. mocha in a b&n cafe once. delicious.

by the way, it does say something about "praline" on our test screen! but then again, it has for a while. it also has something called a "black &tan" and something else about the kinetix power shakes.

on a seperate note..hows everyone doing with the new contest? our store isnt really pushing it.exausted from the bean contest, i guess (my store took our region, and ALL of new york)but how is everyone working this one?

and on the DT subject...

i have mixed feelings about the end of drivethru stores. my store is DT, high volume, and about 60-65% of our business is from the window.

yes, you do lose some ambiance, and yes the line is long. We try to be different than other DTs though. We engage the customer at the window as much as we can. My personal favorite is kids in the back seat when they roll down the window. We also draw pictures on the window(especially during the holidays) and a daily offerings board back by the speaker.

Borrowed partners are always intimidated when they cover a shift at my store, but i love the DT. Its by far my favorite position, and Im glad we have one.

ristretto caramel macciato

Re: Ritzville, WA store

I was there last summer on my way back from a week in Seattle. I know that they are a new store, so there is still stuff to work on but I found their store clean, friendly and a VERY welcome change from the McDonald's next door. My only beef is that they wouldn't let me use my partner discount because I didn't have my actual card with me. I had my picture ID and could have verified the store number, but they wouldn't let me use it. The barista said it was due to a directive from their DM, so if that's true, then it isn't the fault of the barista. I still thought it was ridiculous though. I didn't have that problem in Seattle...

maggiemunkee

re: cherry syrup

if you still have almond in your store, take a grande cup and add two pumps each mocha, almond, and caramel, then your espresso and milk as normal. tastes like a chocolate cherry. for real!

Posted by: | Mar 8, 2008 6:07:06 PM
^re: B&N Cafe

I too run my cafe to the Starbucks standard. I can't stand people who do not follow the standards that are set. But then, I come from a long line of managers who are former partners. And I believe the new standard is to actually have the Starbucks rep go in and train the cafes. Before my current store opened, we had a 2 day training session with not 1, not 2, but 3 reps (all of whom were SMs and started as baristas). It was fantastic. The training consisted of standards and the Starbucks culture. The opening of the new store was kind of rough, so that was a perfect way to remind me why I was so passionate about my job.

I get that cafe's like mine are the exception, not the rule, but I get a little offended when people dismiss me dedication and skills simply because of who signs my check.

I look at it this way.... Most people who walk in there think they are going to Starbucks. If I don't provide a Starbucks quality visit, I'm not only doing myself (and my sales) and disservice, but to Starbucks too. Plus, I simply just love my job. There are worse ways I could pay the bills while I finish up my nursing degree.

And the Toasted Marshmallow. Sooooo good. It's a subtle flavor. Reminds me of Almond in a way. Delicious as a Toasted Marshmallow Mocha. Just make sure it's made the Cinnamon Spice Mocha way.

Tim

Valencia is returning. Both my SM and DM have confirmed.

Buzzbuzz

A Long Post on a Honey Latte

As it is an open thread, I would love to hear some discussion of the honey latte.

Personally, I am disappointed. It does not taste good. Not hot. Not cold. I've tried it both ways twice before coming to this conclusion. In fact, whatever is being put in it seems 'artificial' and it ... it seems to 'bother my works' if you know what I mean. (no more details!)

Moments like these give me pause to wonder: how do these companies come up with their 'next' drinks. Who is sitting in a room in Seattle saying 'Yeah! This is delicious! They're going to love it!'

Particularly with the de-emphasis on new products this quarter (?this year?), you'd think they should have put extra effort into whatever they did decide to rollout. Then again, maybe this was in the pipeline from pre-Howard-comes-back days. (However, let's not be too ridiculous ... it's not like Starbucks is a big-pharma company 'oh, yeah, this ginger tea has been in R&D for 4 years. I'd hate to pull the plug now')

So yes. Honey latte. Not good. If this was the best they could do, I think I would have rather have seen them put effort into revamping the national pastry lines. Has anyone taken a look into the pastry case of late? It's become a mishmosh. Lots of individually good things. But no themes, too many 'directions', some stuff seems extremely 'old' in the sense that it's been around forever ...
(part of what happened is they started responding to consumers saying 'I love this!' for every seasonal item. Suddenly, there are no more seasonal items - everything is year round)

I hope somewhere in a desk drawer in Howard's Office, there's a note to himself which reads:

To Do
1. Roll out better drinks
2. Major pastry line overhaul
3. Fire whoever tested the honey latte!

 barista jack

PRODUCTWOES

yes have had the same problem with the last 3 thermos i have had, what gives?

Confirmed for SUMMER 08

Chantico will be back!
Valencia will be back!

Howard wanted to retry the Chantico to roll out with the new Starbucks chocolates.

Dave

I have to just comment on the whole B&N Starbucks thing. The one near my old house just north of Boston was horrid, horrible service and horrible drinks. Now the one in the Prudential Center was probably the best Starbucks I have ever gone to. The staff was friendly, just sitting there joking around and making sure to get the customer involved in the conversation, and they made great drinks at a good speed. So while consistency might be an issue there are some amazing B&N Starbucks out there.

dear god. no chantico. please. no!

How can we go from hawing "skinny lattes" to Chantico with its 29g fat and nearly 400 calories per 6 ounces?

How many customers will want a "Skinny Chantico"?

tracy

Barista Jack + Productwoes-
I am having the same problem with my new thermoses. They changed the tops I think. They do not work as well as the old ones.

Also, Skinny CHnatico? LOL.

chantico is a big commitment for the company... do you remember all the marketing, training that revolved around it? along with the special serving trays, steaming pitchers, and serve-wear? why would they choose to revive it now at such a critical time for the co?

STARBUCKS GOSSIP WEBMASTER

I've asked a Starbucks PR person about the Chantico-is-returning rumor. Here's what he said on Sunday via e-mail:

"I've heard nothing about this but, will double check tomorrow. I wonder if there might be some confusion over all the choclate work with Hershey's. I'll get back to you tomorrow morning."

Watch for a confirmation or denial on Monday.

sample cup

I loved Chantico... but back then, I was a customer and had just graduated from mocha frappuccinos.

I work at an actual company cafe that happens to be right next to a B&N with a special entrance between the stores. You could not believe the number of people you have to "let down" because they want the B&N Member Discount (and suprisingly, the GameStop Employee discount). Usually, I try to explain some of the visual differences between our store and a B&N Cafe, like lack of signs saying "Please buy your merchandise before entering cafe", (supposedly) different aprons, no Starbucks cards at the POS, Starbucks Coffee sign OUTSIDE the cafe... It's frustrating because I can't help that it's a confusing position of cross branding or whatever. Some customers are understanding or even apologetic, others are just downright rude and over-self-entitled about the situation. I try to be nice about it, even so far as to giving them a free modifier or add shot when I can, but ARGH!

I. Am. Legendary.

Various responses come to me as I read some of your comments...

1. Vicki, you're a great asset to the company. I see your spirit and dedication and wish other managers (and DISTRICT MANAGERS!!) would emulate it.

2. A kidney?? DAAANNNGG!! I've given a customer a ride home, but woooww.

3. DT stores (at least mine) can deliver legendary service right to the car!! We greet you via our voice... you hear our voice and are welcomed by the voice of the person who is about to prepare for you a drink to your specific perfection. We joke with you, call you out on funny things you say, and we all laugh. You get to the window, everyone's smiling. You take off with your latte and go to work. On the way home you stop by again because you love it!

3.5. Just... quit being pessimistic and associating Starbucks drive thrus with others' drive thrus. You don't associate a Starbucks in-store with a McDonalds in-store, do you? It's a different experience. If you're a customer, go to an sbux DT one with an open mind. If you're an employee, cover a shift at one. What you'll see is an environment where both employees and customers HAVE FUN with the interaction... OVER COFFEE!!

4. Yes, most of the better baristas are off living well-rounded lives and not checking/posting on forums like this. Not that there's anything wrong with our lives, we're all similar in that this is a community of geeky coffee fiends, both employees and customers. This forum is the medium with which we share our ideas.

4.5. Awesome baristas DO post on this forum... as well as terrible baristas. It's no secret that the company has both. However, at least at my store, we're in the process of getting rid of bad apples and hiring former customers, and they're really showing us what the customers want to see (SAMPLING!! Omg do they love samples!), and are EXCITED to join the company they've been a fan of for so long.

5. OMG Cherry syrup would sell like CRAZY. I never thought of this (because I hate cherry-flavored anything), but people LOVE cherry... wtf!!

6. Viva La Valencia!!

7. Passion Fruit syrup?? And a coffee-based Frappuchino recipe???? Ummm.. ewww?

8. F' off Almond!! You're great as a food, you SUCK as a syrup! Toffee Nut (with white mocha) and Hazelnut (with mocha) are the only nut-based syrups we need.

9. Honey... WTF were they thinking?!!? This syrup tastes HORRIBLE.. every way you use it (If someone wants to give me a good recipe to try with honey syrup, please do so). But... it SELLS!! Customers LIKE this!?!? I think it makes the espresso taste very generic, like it's from DD's of something.


And since this is an open thread, I'm curious if Starbucks drug tests at ANY level, for any position in the company. I LOVE that I get to work with people who have the freedom to live their lives the way they want to, as long as they can provide great coffee and legendary service while on the job. It's truly a step in the right direction to develop a world where business practices actually make sense. Saves A LOT of wasted money too.

If Chantico is coming back, why would they do so in the summer? Who wants a cup of heavy, hot, thick chocolate in the hot temps of summer?

(Of course, some people love ice cold Frappuccinos in the middle of the winter, so I guess you never know.)

Grammatically Annoyed Customer

Unless SBux has invited me in and given me coffee, I am not a "guest", I am a "customer". This type of grammatical misappropriation is a clear sign of too many Marketing executives with too much time on their hands. I am guessing it is the result of some contorted extrapolation from the "3rd Place" concept (that a chain store could/should be considered a "3rd place" in peoples lives is also, clearly, the spawn of a diseased Marketing mind).

I am a happy (most of the time) Customer of SBux. I am not a Guest, or a Friend, or a Partner...just a Customer who likes the English language.

Now I must go shopping...where I will pick a line titled, "14 Items or Less" and then be asked in my charge amount is "OK". In a few years, we will just be pointing and grunting.

I am legendary- I actually do equate the cafe experience in starbucks to mcdonalds, and consumer reports says that micky d's coffee is actually better, so stop feeling so superior. and I don't think you get to consider yourself "coffee geeky" when you use a super auto, and can only recite the company line when talking about coffee.

grammatically annoyed customer- if you just want to speak english when you order your coffee, go somewhere other than starbucks- their made up marketing names for everything is baffling.

Madmoiselle Barista

Honey Syrup tastes really good in a tea misto. Joy or Awake being the two teas I have tried it with. A little extra foam, some honey drizzle, and voila! The syrup should be marketed for tea, because it tastes pretty good together. I made a black honey lemonade tea the other day that was killer. Watch, it will sell like no tomorrow this summer in iced teas.

Grammatically Bemused Customer

@ anon 209: Yes and no. "Creating" product names and building brand identity around those names is not unreasonable. It is nice to say "Venti" instead of the wretchedly American "Extra Large" (cf. "Big Gulp").

It is really a different issue than the intentional misuse of terms to create, in this case, false familiarity.

I am reminded of one of a favorite quotation: "Even if you do learn to speak correct English, whom are you going to speak it to?" (Clarence Darrow).

Sample Cup,

How funny. At the B&N Cafe we always have to try explain the visual differences as well when a customer is confused about not being able to use their Starbucks gift cards or SRCs. I never imagined it the other way around. Thanks for making my day!

Sample Cup,

How funny. At the B&N Cafe we always have to try explain the visual differences as well when a customer is confused about not being able to use their Starbucks gift cards or SRCs. I never imagined it the other way around. Thanks for making my day!

99.999 percent of customers who come through a dt are NOT looking for that 'third place' experience. they want a jolt of caffeine, and they want to leave. for the very select few that want our legendary service, it's ruined by the need to rush, knowing that the next car could be the customer who calls the dm every time his drink takes longer than 3 minutes, and the one after that could be the woman who has been banned from our store by every shift supervisor but is still welcomed by our sm because he's never seen her excessive verbally abusive behaviour to his baristas.

i work in a dt store, and i love my store/partners, but i really don't feel the dt concept keeps with any of our ways of being or allows us to be the legendary partners we want to be. those of you who are beaking about it and haven't worked in a dt store for an extended period of time really need to learn what you're talking about.

B&N CafeGirl

Anon B&N,
We can accept Starbucks coupons at B&N. Just check through the register training curriculum (I'm not sure exactly where it is, sorry.) The standard is that we can accept corporate generated coupons like SRC's, the ones from magazines, etc., but not any locally generated ones. There is a procedure for ringing the coupon through then you just mark it with the drink info & it gets sent back to home office to be submitted to Starbucks for sweet sweet cash. This is a great way to keep the customer happy & it helps build future sales. I keep a photocopy of the ringing instructions taped to the top of our reg so we can ring these through seamlessly. PS to all the B&N cafe managers out there who are taking pride in their cafe & championing the Starbucks standards...You Rock!! Keep the dream alive! I'm glad to see I'm not the only one.

Jake

It is my understanding that B&N Cafes are NOT Licensed Stores...hence why my DM knows nothing about them (I work at a Licensed Store).

B&N CafeGirl

Jake,
Your right, we aren't licensed stores. B&N has some sort of partnership deal with Starbucks for their cafe's. Way back when, all the cafe's in B&N were Starbucks corp owned and there are still a few of them around (Pasadena CA & maybe in PA somewhere?). For some reason unknown to us low-level minions, B&N began converting the Starbucks cafe's into B&N Cafes. The vast majority of our drink menu is Starbucks offerings. All of the drink recipes are given to us by Starbucks in addition to making the products available to us to support the sale of these products. Throughout the year our Starbucks rep conducts quality assessments of the cafe to make sure we are adhering to all product standards. So while we may not be formally beneath the Starbucks umbrella, we are still held accountable for product knowledge & maintaining standards. It can be more challenging because we are not the priority business in the bookstore. We are still managed by them & our staffing and sales needs are always secondary to bookfloor needs. It can border on the surreal sometimes.

In addition to CA and PA, there's at least one corporate owned SBUX in New Jersey, at the Freehold B&N. The first place I ever had Starbuck's Coffee was at the Springfield, NJ Barnes & Noble, circa 1993. It has always been operated by Barnes & Noble, as are all the others that I've visited in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I believe that the only exception is at the Freehold Barnes & Noble, that I have noticed.

Tim

Okay, so the Juicy Raspberry thing is up in the air. I know I said it was "out" but a customer came in and asked, which gave me reason to go ask my SM. He said it is not for sure, but apparently Howard isn't happy with the flavour of it and at least wants to make some changes.

So there you go. A bit of clarification.

However, Valencia is definitely back. Summer Phase 1.

I liked iced Chantico, but I don't know if that will go over very well being launched in the middle of summer (unless they do push iced Chantico and mixing it with other syrups, nonfat milk instead of 2% or whole, etc.).

And in response to the honey syrup in tea comment, I couldn't agree more. I am personally a big fan of a honey vanilla chai tea misto. They're superb!

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