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January 28, 2009

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Di!

They should cut DM's. It would save a huge load of money. DM's at starbucks do nothing but pass the work to SM.

qahwa

Honestly, I think they might consider taking DM's and making them store managers in charge of 2-3 stores.

The stores themselves should have a Store Supervisor who manage day to day operations but leaves management to the DM.

You'll end up with properly paid managers and supervisors who just handle book-keeping, small partner infractions, and scheduling.

Kim

"SELL BEANS. The profit on beans is big. Smile. Make perfect drinks and sell beans to anyone you can."
Hey everybody let's run to SBUX and pay $11 dollars for a bag of beans that only cost them $4 to buy [wavy hand]

Former shift (promoted to customer!!!!)

OK, let me say this Starbucks decline has to do with the economy. Yeah customer service and tenured partners are nice, but when people are not coming through the doors in droves then duh, sales decline. Who knows when that will happen again. For most of Starbucks customers, its a afforadable luxury. For most people its eating and clothes vs. $4 latte.

Former shift (at epi-center!!!)

To all the good people at Starbucks and you know who are that are being laid off or are feeling overwhelmed or stressed with the uncertainity of what is going to happen. Relax, there is life after the bucks. To all the bad and self-absorbed people at Starbucks, you're in for one rude awakening.

Former shift (at epi-center!!!)

I think when this economic mess blows over and right now, its 50/50 Starbuck's board might have to replace Howard. Was it his fault??? How would have Donald handled it??? Who knows??? Will Howard step down??? Will he let his ego down??? They need someone with no emotional baggage, that will stand up to Howard, and treat it like a job and not as a hobby.

missingfreebeans

Our situation is similar to "cut out the heart." She was dismissed/laid off/gave her notice two weeks ago. Her daughter immediately said she was not going to Starbucks again but her Mom told her to not take it that way. My wife never once had any kind of a warning. Always, on time and available when needed. She made index cards to learn her drinks. She could clean circles around the other Barista and not tire, however, she was relatively new and was not as fast on the espresso bar or window. I think she would of faired better is she did not ask for benefits. Everybody loved her especially the customers. She did have trouble with one Barista that started bullying her from the third day on. I told her not to go to management so a lot of the issues stemmed from this. This bully went to his favorite shift and got her to support his bad behavior towards my wife. A very sad thing. I could see over the months of the abuse that she was wearing down. She did however go the the store manager in confidence about this employee and eventually about talked to the manager about the shift. This is a woman that young people come to to get advise and that is why she went to Starbucks in the first place to be near young people. Her son is married and her daughter is away at college. My wife has empty nest syndrome and now a deep sense of self doubt to add to that. She did not get to be a part of the severance package nor did she apply for unemployment. The SM and her Assistant SM, both, told her they would write her reference letters. She has called the store manager and hasn't heard back and no one has called her to check on her well being. I am concerned about her because she has had a hard personal year, as well. A very close friend died at a young age last summer and now a neighbor died on thursday who was like her 2nd father. We lived next door to this family for 12 years and he and his wife took us and our son in like family since all of our family was spread out around the country. She really needs to hear from someone with this company. On the brighter side is that she is going back for a second interview with a prospective employer.

wondergekko

Sorry for my double post above. The site
didn't post my comment until I wrote the second one.

Lindsey

Anyone know when they will announce which stores are getting the axe? (how long did it take last time for them to announce it?)

...I hate waiting about stuff this important. I don't like not knowing whether or not I have a job.

spence

Why would someone be nasty when I suggest they sell coffee beans? We are a coffee house and we do want to increase sales, right?

Melody

Spence, I hear ya! There was a time (a long long long time ago) when the whole bean side of the business was so busy that there was a separate whole bean line and a beverage line.

Maybe people don't realize that there is a horrible mark up on everything you buy - perfume, clothes, food out to eat, a movie ticket, everything ... The only thing that I can think of with no real mark up would be going to an opera or perhaps the symphony - The ticket costs do not cover the costs of production, and without donation, we'd never have those arts available in our cities and towns. The cost of a product is much more than the cost of raw materials: it's every person who touches that bag, and every ounce of humanity poured into the corporation like health care, donations, everything ...

And well, your beans are wonderful! That's the one thing I've been harping for so long. I think I'll go back to my cup of Bella Vista and hide in a corner now.

dave

Anyone know when they will announce which stores are getting the axe? (how long did it take last time for them to announce it?)

...I hate waiting about stuff this important. I don't like not knowing whether or not I have a job.

SBUX is going out of business,all that will be left is online sales. There is too much competition way ahead of the game right now for any form of consolidation to work!

SbuxBoy

@Dave...LOL! Sbux will still be around, long after you are dust...have no fear of that. What we're doing right now my seem drastic, and it is, but it will keep us around for a long, long time.

maxpunx

my store is having to get rid of a few baristas to get "lean and mean" and the remaining baristas will all get about 18 hours a week.
18 hours a week= no benefits. believe me starbucks is finding a way to get around total pay.
sbux is not an awful place to work, i still have my customers and partners that i love, but the howard has taken everything else good about the job away.

LongTimeCustomer

Store placement in San Diego county is interesting. The town I live in has a population of over 34,000. It is rural on the outskirts of San Diego. We have one grocery store kiosk with two employees and that's it. On my way to work in San Diego proper in one area there is a grocery store kisok and 30 yards away is a SBUX store. I am guessing they will close the single kiosk in my town...

Tammy

I, too, am wondering where my W-2 is. I have already received my W-2's from the other 2 jobs I had this past year...like 2 weeks ago. I sincerely hope they were postmarked today.
As for store closing lists. I talked to my former SM and she said they should know by the middle of February. That sure seems like a long time. Good luck to everyone.

Cut out the Heart

Darleen,

Thanks for your post and I understand your support for Howard. He did create the company and for that, many people have been very successful and employed. I don't think Howard doesn't have what he believes to be the best intentions but the job is bigger then him at this point in time. Matter fact, one thing one could say is that Howard's success at Sbux was less about him in the past and more about the team he had surrounded himself with back then. The days of H2O is what made Sbux successful in the past. Those days had the master PR of Howard, the people person in Howard Behar, and the business oriented leader in Orin. That is the recipe for success. Today, the people that Howard has surrounded himself with are playing prevent defense (Super Bowl this weekend you know) and not playing offense. They are too worried about protecting what they have versus really being committed to the success of the company. If I were Cliff Burrows, Martin Coles, and the gang, I would march into Howard's office on Monday and let him know that his pay cut has inspired them. That they are voluntarily going to take a 25% percent cut in pay. Hell, 50% because they will still have their stock options and I am sure that for every dollar increase in share price will more then recoup any loss in salary. Even though these few people taking a pay cut wouldn't add a ton to the bottom line, it will create significant good will value and be an inspiration to the hourly employees.

My other suggestion to Howard, Michelle, Martin, Cliff, and especially Chet is to individually go out to locations and talk, really talk to the partners. No major production, not all together but by themselves. I am sure there are enough mucky mucks that if they all took time to go out to visit a couple hundred partners a piece, they would be able to get awareness of what REALLY is going on and the impact of their decisions. No more sound bites and announcements on the portal. Today is the time for live interaction and not video taped, canned statements.

My two cents and just like you, the focus is on making thing happen for the partners and the customers. I live in Seattle and we need to keep Starbucks healthy for the local economy. No more layoffs Howard but tangible changes that are going to produce a return.

Have a great weekend.

BOSTON STABUCKS REBEL

I was in a store today. Talking to the partners. A customer comes in and says Store X doesn't brew decaf or bold. I come to Store Y because they do.

What does this come down to? Merchant mentality. Supply and demand. Customers will go to stores that have the products ready for them. The customer said Store X didn't have decaf and she didn't have time to wait.

Let me tell you something about us New Englanders, we are on a rush. Our time is precious. We walk fast and talk even faster. We want it and we want it now. 4 minutes for a cup of coffee is too long to wait.

In the end, stores that are able to create an uplifting experience will be cannibalize other store sales. To inspire and nurture the human spirit— one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time. That includes decaf coffee.

Adam

Does an anyone know where I could find a list of closing stores or if they have even posted it yet?
I work at a relatively slow store and we have always thought our store was going to get shut down, so if anyone could help out, that would be awesome.
On another note, is it just me, or does starbucks seem to be getting stupider as this economy goes down the drain? I mean, the whole presidential voting day, free coffee thing was the start..or atleast close. Now this whole "bring in this card that says you have done 5 hours of community service and we will give you a free cup of coffee". What is that? Is anyone going to even participate in that or actually DO the 5 hours. This economy keeps getting worse and worse as the days go by and money is getting very tight around the US and people are doing just about anything just to get their hands on a dollar. You can tell when people need money, because the tip draw in the draw thru AND cafe get stolen more often. We had it stolen 4 times last week. We finally just didn't put anything out there, because they were stealing the money and the jar when there was only MAYBE 1 dollar in it. I don't get it.

BBofB

Bean Barrage! I think I know you! If you are who I think you are...God Bless you! I know about the DM you speak of. I was shocked when I read the article about her being asked to leave the big toy store for rascism...and even more perplexed that she could have landed a DM position at Starbucks afterward??? Don't they vet these people? And if they do, what were they thinking?? My experience with the DM's in NC was that they got the results they needed by BULLYING the managers,ASM's, and Shifts...Studies show that bullying works because the people above the bullies only look at RESULTS...not very Starbuckish,eh? When a DM rewards good results with insults and threats and then higher demands...it defeats partners spirits...not to mention the amount of paranoia it creates! As for what is going wrong at the company...obviously the economic climate plays a big role NOW, but two or three years ago, it was just plain old panicked and bad management decisions...from hiring Larry, Darryl and Darryl for in store repairs, to opening too many stores in terrible locations, or too close to others all the while saying "we are NOT cannabalizing!", to making sweeping decisions about all stores when really, each district/store has their own niche and should be allowed to have some say in what pastries are cancelled, what their particular customers want (i.e. speed of service vs. warm and fuzzy), to making partners give ridiculous song and dance routines to every customer that walks in everyday (I swear, our regulars were pissed that everyday we had to explain some stupid promo or other to them...they finally started cutting us off before we could finish the spiel!) Anyway, I sincerely believe that every decision that corporate has made in the last three years comes from PANIC!! The higher ups need to calm down and start "connecting" with the people who are out in the trenches...WE know what our customers want! Right now, I'd say price reductions and less non coffee products...

Darleen

Cut out the Heart,
Wow, you have great insight, ever thought about sending some of these ideas on to the ones who can actually see them? No doubt Howard had the dream team back then with Orin and Behar. Yet even before that Howard had the energy and the focus to get starbucks a reality when no one else believed he could do it. I think with that same energy and focus he will do what needs to be done to get it back. Unfortunately that has led to alot of great partners being let go. It's ugly, I'll give you that and, I'd hate to be in his shoes having to decide who goes and who stays. I'm sure some of those folks were like family to him and the cuts must run deep. I agree it would be quite noble and very encouraging to the other partners out there if some took Howards lead and took a pay cut. However, I doubt that will happen. Which again proves my point that Howard has his heart wrapped around this company and will do whatever it takes to get it back on track. I also believe that in this uncertain time there has to be more communication than what has been shown lately. Going out to the stores and talking to the partners would be a great start. Yet, do you think the partners would actually have the courage to really speak their minds? I wonder. i have been to too many open forums and round tables to know that most of the partners do not really communicate what it is that they need. Is that out of fear of retribution I wonder? I have always had an open communication with Howard. I have sent numerous emails and phone calls all which have been answered. He is not a bully as some would say. I believe he would listen to honest and direct communication. I don't have the answers here, God kknows I wish I knew how to turn the tides. However, I do think that if all of the partners would give it all they have, in each store, on every shift that slowly the ship will turn and when the economy picks up things will turn around. I'm sure there are some out there reading this saying to themselves "man, has she had too much Koolaid" but I have seen too many horrible posts on here to think that many of the partners still do that. Many are just waiting for another opportunity to open up so they can jump ship. Before anyone starts picking this apart, I'm not saying you are wrong for your feelings. It's hard to live on faith, I know that. Yet I still believe if you treat your store as if it was the ONLY store, with pride and respect for your team and customers, that YOUR store would be the one to reckon with. Every customer would feel it, every partner too. Just my two cents. Or, as Pat Nerr would say "just sayin'" I did enjoy your Super Bowl reference. Too bad my Giants aren't it!!! Have a great day!

Pat Nerr

Here's the great irony that is the Starbucks of today...

In trying to grow too fast they signed way too many expensive leases to "grow"... Now that profits are way down they have to enact Jim Alling's "hit list" that he had been putting under Uncle Howie's nose for the last 3 years. It necessary for the company to survive for them to close stores, cut losses and then look at capitalizing on the better place they will be in against property owners and leasing companies. Let's face it, they bought space when it was at it's highest. They tried to build a new corporate office when property and construction was at it's highest (and they can't get rid of it now) They bought a plane when they thought the money was rollin' in. Now they're cash reserves are at an all time low and they have to change that to weather the storm so they're in a good position for when the opportunities come... The downside to having to focus on all of the above crap is that they also have a frontline business to run. Simplification is the key... Get back to coffee, focus on it... simple food items that are hand held and easy for partners to get to the customer... bring back things like Mocha Mondays and surprise specials to delight customers. Let managers manage labor to a % of their store's sales rather than VTI. Lastly, cut all of the useless levels of bureaucratic VPs... Remove the guys at the top who are adding no value to the stores. Forget about hiring "talent" and paying for "talent"... that has not worked and there is no tie to company performance as evidenced by the current pickle. Keep those people that can help the stores get it done...

Melody

*[quote=CutOutTheHeart] If I were Cliff Burrows, Martin Coles, and the gang, I would march into Howard's office on Monday and let him know that his pay cut has inspired them. That they are voluntarily going to take a 25% percent cut in pay. [/quote]*

That is a great idea! What a perfect example of leading by example that would be! Darleen went further on to say that she doubted your idea would happen but that it would be a noble thing to do. The main thing that separates Howard Schultz from much of his crew is amazing devotion to Starbucks. Obviously he can see now that they grew too fast, but I can't think of anyone who actually cares about Starbucks more than him (from my position way down here as customer that's the way it looks, lol). Pat Nerr's post is right on too but about the mistakes that have been made.

Drive Diva

Sbuxboy,
I couldn't agree with you more. Our SM has only cut hours of those that are enrolled in medical benefits, giving us 11-14 hours a week. New baristas (same availability, no insurance) are getting the 20+. Seems like unfair treatment, doesn't it?

g

Pat Nerr:
Can you explain the managing labor to sales method. What would be an ideal target percentage?

Thanks for the info.

ndemystic


BBoB Posted; My experience with the DM's in NC was that they got the results they needed by BULLYING the managers,ASM's, and Shifts...Studies show that bullying works because the people above the bullies only look at RESULTS...not very Starbuckish,eh? When a DM rewards good results with insults and threats and then higher demands...it defeats partners spirits...not to mention the amount of paranoia it creates! As for what is going wrong at the company...

In this case my experience working for the BUX could have been worse because the bullying was only happening with the
DM. My SM and ASM were supportive, however, there was a shift and a Barista that thought it was fun to Bully. The rest of the shifts and Baristas were all friends and very supportive and not much screaming at each other except maybe during rush. I will miss my friends there but I won't miss the stress that the DM and above were puting on all of us.

Darleen

Simplification is the key... Get back to coffee, focus on it... simple food items that are hand held and easy for partners to get to the customer... bring back things like Mocha Mondays and surprise specials to delight customers. Let managers manage labor to a % of their store's sales rather than VTI. Keep those people that can help the stores get it done...

Pat Nerr,
Love this post! Focus on the coffee, let the managers focus labor % on store sales. Surprise and delight, mocha monday. I think you hit the nail on the head on alot of these. Real Estate value is another great point. Hind sight is 20/20 though. Own the mistakes made, accept the responsibility, create strategies to fix the problem. It seems to me that Starbucks is doing those things. Is every idea a home run? Obviously not, but I think the leadership team is focusing on keeping the company profitable while unfortunately many others are going bankrupt or shuttering. Things are ugly and, will most likely get uglier before the economy turns around. So you are so right on when you say keep the ones who can help the stores get it done. What represents what Starbucks is? The stores that each customer calls their 3rd place. That and in our dear Melody's case, BOLD COFFEE ALL DAY, EVERYDAY. LOL. Think they heard that Melody? hahahaha.

bean barrage

The economy that SBUX scapegoats on about their current status is not entirely accurate. It has put a magnifying glass on years and years of poor business decisions by the leaders of this company. If you think the economy is the reason then I say you should really take a quick look at the "competitors" of SBUX. Critical to this is not buying into the arrogance that fast food operations are not competition. McDonalds, Panera and many others are not only maintaining, but they are doing well. Starbucks has weathered downturns before and this has contributed to their lack of foresight and preparation vs their gaining knowledge and foresight. You cannot weather a storm and then start lighting cigars with 20's instead of singles and expect to be ready for the next one. All that being said the problem is lack of response to the customer base-or I should say inappropriate response. If your corporation is to proud to respond to those fast food crappy coffee competitors that you are losing market share to-well that's just a sad state. No brand cheapening should occur, but lowering a price here or there, slightly, is not going to do that. Reverting to Pikes Place Blend and in my opinion, oatmeal, does cheapen it. McDonalds and Panera and Dunkin, etc., have all been given an edge by Starbucks lack of acknowledging their introduction as competition. It does not really matter that all the others coffee products suck. To me that is the only thing confusing about this competitive benchmark. Wake up and discount the drip (slightly), it is really that simple. And don't be secretive about it. Someone mentioned earlier about the innovation that comes out of troubled economic climates, which is very accurate. It is the company that does this poorly, or not at all that hurts itself. Innovation takes many forms and the innovation that SBUX needs to focus on is inside it's 4 walls, not necessarily introducing gimmicky oatmeal, etc. Glean your operations and focus your supply chains. Accept the losses of your poor decisions as to market saturation and come out of this operationally fit and wiser for it. Accept that the challenge that this is possibly beyond your scope(Howard), and allow the right team to make this change. I read so many posts where people lionize Howard and I just feel bad, because the folks who do this are probably the former and present heart and soul that made the company what it once was, and could still be. But, no Saints will ever come from the business world, please accept this and then judge business folk on a more accurate and relative scale. "Pour your Heart into it" was about a passion for book revenue, not a passion for telling everyone how great I am-and I say good. That being said, I also don't suggest that Howard and friends are sitting around laughing and playing devious games, but it comes to competence in uncharted waters. Nothing will cheapen a brand more than it's extinction.

Mike

@ Cut out the Heart = you hit the nail on the head...I've always thought one of the more important components in gaining respect as a leader is from time to time asking your employees what THEY thought! I mean, they get us on the portal for all kinds of crap, WHY NOT ask us what we think about things they're thinking about? Because really, if we're not going to support it, why do it?

As far as having key executives in the stores, it would be a step in the right direction. Problem is no one has the courage to tell it like it is to anyone's face. That's half the problem right now at corporate -- no one has the courage to challenge authority. Last time I checked the Success Profiles that was actually encouraged! Then again, we've seen it time and again, those who stick up for the rights of others and those who disagree with our leadership and say something about it are generally not around much longer afterward. Who said Starbucks is different from any other corporation?

Sweet Right Here

Has anyone had customers in their stores want to petition for certain partners to be working and others to not be? I was approached about this several times this week by several customers. Some want to petition for myself and a couple of other partners to be there more and others less if at all. I felt awkward about being approached about it yet flattered. It's their prerogative to comment and do as they may to inform corporate of their wants via emal, comment cards, or just calling seattle. But I also want to stay under the radar and not singled out. Anyone else in a similar situation?

enjoys coffee

Starbucks has to take a look at the people who want to work as barista and were dedicated to working at their store.
I was a barista for four years then got turned down from a manager.To return to work. Guess what now the manager is not there !!
There is a new manager , It took a year to see that the manager, the store was not doing well for one year.(and longer)
Hopefully,again I can return to work as a Barista . When Starbucks rehires.
I love coffee preparing beverages,and customer service.

lattegal

Cut out the Heart & Pat Nerr -

You both hit the nail on the head. Especially COTH by saying that they need to get in the stores and really talk to Partners, see and feel what is going on in the stores. I know someone earlier said that it's hard to find people who would speak up...but then they have to keep going...keep seeking. Come to my store...I'll talk to them.

Too Many Stores

Re: Cut out the Heart

If the customer has a choice of which store to visit, there are too many stores.
Wait 4 minutes or drive to another store in less than 4 minutes?

grass is getting greener

Pat,
Isn't the VTI a % over or under of the ideal labor$ to sales $ %?

Anyway someone asked about what the number should be and that is subjective, but a decent % is 21% before taxes or 27% overall. However, volume plays a huge role in this, so their really is more to it than a flat % rate. For example their is a minimum amount of staff you need just to stay open, so if your sales are low your labor will be high. I'll catch flak for this, but strictly from a viewpoint of managing your controllable costs, high volume stores are easier to perform in. So managing a low volume store is very hard to perform well in as you just don't have anything justifying any expenses. Drive your sales and innovate(for example brew decaf and bold if you feel you have the customer base, etc) Unless something has changed drastically over the years SBUX automated labor system is killer, if you use it for more than the obvious. The problem I saw when I was their (it's been some time now), was that it was rolled out with no training and no one knew how to use it. I spent a ton of time learning how to use it as I came from a place where it was all gut feel till your P&L hit you at the end of the month. I used Excel to create some tools, but they were tedious. I loved ALS, and I was good with it and made sure my shifts were good with it. I didn't really care that they were not allowed, as they were all developing and it was stupid to get promoted to an ASM and then go somewhere where the manager had no idea how to use ALS and just performed 500 edits to make a schedule. ALS is so much more than a scheduling tool. So much that SBUX does wrong these days, but they still have all the tools to do it right and if it were me and the jeopardized nature of things today, I'd be a little entrepreneurial about my decisions and if it meant explaining my self after ward, I'd do it with my P&L and retail detail in hand. It beats saying I did everything corporate asked, but we still closed down or lost significant traffic. I don't buy the economy excuse all that much. It has an impact certainly, but it's the poor decisions from above that are impacting most SBUX more. The economy has just caused people to reevaluate their expenses in most cases and when they get crappy service and Pikes Place, it's a no brainer to do something different. So easy to change. The degrading of the experience... well you all still control that at the store level. The SBUX that used to be is not that far away, and in times like these people should flock to the coffee house to socialize and enjoy an affordable luxury. This was the case in and around 2001 when the economic climate crapped out (although it was short lived in comparison), but the atmosphere has changed. People are still spending nearly the same amount money for coffee at the competitor (per cup-drip/mclatte(crap)/panera espresso drinks(crap), etc) so it's not as much about the market declining for coffee drinkers, it's about Starbucks losing Market Share. Change it back, then move forward with it. Also, it would be great if Howard and friends could sneak out into the stores and reconnect and observe, but it could never happen. It would just be a circus with DM's and RDO's,RVP's, etc running around trying to accommodate and create the illusion they think he/they want. What Howard should do, is hold a Town Meeting in every major market over the next year and allow no DM's and above to attend. As a matter of fact it should take place over a couple of days or more and the DM's RDO's and RVP's etc., should run the stores (what a laugh that would be)with some partners left in reserve, who are scheduled to attend the next meeting or who have already attended. Don't say it cannot happen-holiday meetings used to happen without fail every year (boring). It should be open forum and no holds barred and he should just listen a lot and respond a little. He could validate using that wasteful jet. This won't happen either, but it would be better time spent than sitting around dreaming up the next gimmick and it would be better served than the leadership conferences. My personal opinion of the leadership conferences were always that they were a joke. I never liked going to the butt kiss convention every year, although I think they were created to be otherwise. My time at SBUX was better spent developing my store and partners and my time off was better spent doing what I wanted not going to Atlantic City, etc. I am so glad I left this company as I just would have been sick to see it where it is today from the inside. But I am also sick to see it degrade to a state of decay, when it just isn't necessary (Plus I am a stock holder (unfortunately). I think many stores have got the gist of all of this and kept the experience alive, and probably prosper. But they are in a sense bucking the system-which they should. And I don't condone non conformity as a rule, but in some cases you do whats right when you are instructed to do whats wrong. Just make sure you are right and if you were around when the store was connected and prospering than you have experience to draw from.

Cut out the Heart

As many of you have pointed out, even if the executives did decide to come out of the SSC and visit with partners, many partners may not tell it like it is however that would be their choice to say or not say something. I think that right now, times are tough and the things being communicated are not very fun but to not have a face to this issue and to hide behind the portal, is the wrong thing to do. Get out from behind the desk, scatter across the country, make your presence known, and ask good questions, and don't retaliate against anyone that says something you don't want to hear. It will then be up to the partners to choose to respond but one thing I know, is that when I have no choice to voice my thoughts, I go to sites like this and just complain without any solution in mind.

The issue for me is why is it so easy for the big guys and gals to come out of the office when their is a fun and festive message to communicate but when the message is not so good, it trickles down through the communication chain. Cliff Burrows from what I can tell only tells people what they are doing wrong and doesn't seem to be doing anything to get connected with the partners.

Now, that is my opinion which is based on my experience and what I hear but I would ask that anyone who participates in this web site discussion that has had a personal interaction at the store level with Cliff or anyone else for that matter, to let us all know. Oh, and I am not talking about the "I came by the store on Mercer Island and the dumpster looked like crap" voicemail that goes from Cliff, down to Kris, down to the DM, down to the SM. You know what they say about that brown substance that rolls down hill.

I find it so funny that high paid professionals, need some schlub like me to point out the obvious. All big corporations have this issue of disconnected leaders to some extent but those that are really world class find ways for the senior leadership to stay in touch with the real world. I read an article about the CEO of Costco, Jim Sinegal, that he personally visits every location each year. Now granted, there are fewer Costcos then Starbucks but then again, there are a ton of executives that could fan out and hit as many locations as possible. Build a word of mouth that senior leadership cares and you don't have to visit every location.

Maybe as Darleen said, I should find a way to get my ideas to Howard and the gang. The problem is that I would have to charge them a huge consultant fee. Right now my advice is free, all someone has to do is act upon it and see the benefits.

Melody

Cut Out The Heart, that was a beautiful post.

Cut out the Heart

Thanks Melody!

bean barrage

CTH,
As ignorant as this may sound, you should not waste your time trying to convince SBUX to do a wise thing. As a matter of fact form your earlier posts it sound as if they don't deserve your help. So very admirable for still caring, and my guess is you have some good people still "in-company". But your are absolutely correct and all that servant leadership mirage that the SM's and above were supposed to be immersed in seems to have had little effect on the directors. But it is worse than that isn't it? When the beginning of the solution is so obvious, but the ego cannot allow the mind to entertain that the solution most come from observation and listening, then the problem is clear. The partners, customers and former partners have a wealth of combined knowledge and experience and Howard and Co. should have their ears to the ground. That's the incompetence I keep speaking of. You can't learn until you accept that you don't know it all. It's not that he is a moron or clueless individual, it is just that he has no precedent to draw from and is trying to come up with all these gimmicky fixes, when all he needs to do is practice some proven business logic. The economy is the perfect alibi for lowering the price selectively a little and not cheapening anything, and the traffic will increase. Simple economics and I guarantee you that SBUX is providing business schools all over the country with tons of case studies for what went wrong. The arrogance Howard shows toward his customer base and competition is just unbelievable to me. Get someone in their that can take the emotion out of it and start making some sound business decisions, and let Howard tour around talking up the company as it was founded, before he is totally viewed as a mouth of lies. The clock is ticking. I heard Circuit City was brewing SBUX coffee at their store closing sales:)

Mickey Blue Eyes

The last time I went to a SBUX, I got a drip coffee but when I went to add sugar and cream, there was no half & half. It was still morning, they weren't busy, but the carafe was empty. I settled for milk, but the coffee still tasted bitter and burned.

I should have gone to Mickey D. When there is high turnover, the coffee doesn't taste burned and I KNOW they will have half & half for my coffee.

Maybe if one gets to SBUX first thing in the morning they can get there before the daily half & half ration runs out.

Cut out the Heart

Bean Barrage,

Nail firmly hit on the head. On another note, I heard from a little bird that the HR group has tied up all the conference/meeting rooms at the SSC on two seperate days in the coming couple of weeks. Really, how stupid do they think the partners at the SSC are to not pick up on that. All I am going to say to those of you still employed...back up all your personal information onto a jump drive and be prepared for the worst. Come on Chet, booking all the meeting rooms? Really? Seriously? Really?

BOLDasm

COTH,
In response to your prior post, I worked for a bank that was spread throughout the east coast and once a year the "big guys" would visit each and every location, usally around the holiday times and even though it may seem cheesy it meant a lot to us. All they would do is walk around the branch and tell us we were doing a great job, the visit lasted all of 10 minutes but in the five years I worked there in all different locations never once did they not visit. LOL the best part was the poor facilites people had to work non stop fixing everything that was overlookedt the rest of the year. Can you imagine what would get fixed in your store if Howard was coming to tour! Lets start the rumor ourseleves, I need a remodel! :)

Darleen

Cut out the heart,
Can you tell me where you are going with that post about Chet booking all the meeting rooms? Sorry, but I don't get it....

SMD

Just heard through the grapevine, many ASM's getting the axe on Febraury 11th

Supervisor in Cleveland

I am a supervisor at Sbux in Cleveland, OH. Over the last year I have witnessed the decline first hand. I went from 37 hrs per week to being excited at getting 20 hrs . Customers who filled our store from the door to the counter are a thing of the past, the morning rush is a snoozer and there is a HUGE demand to cut hours and labor at the expense of customer service and my job satisfaction. I wrote a SWOT analysis 2 years ago about too many stores without the quality of staff to run them. I am deeply saddened to say, " I told you so". Furthermore, I do believe we have seen the end of Sbux as we know it.

Rusty Wallace

I had a friend who just got a PIP, partner improvment plan. What does this mean for his job? Wonder how many of those are being handed out these days....

fred

@Supervisor in Cleveland
aHaHaHaHaHaHa! Good! I can't wait til all of you pompous asshats get "laid off"

bnthr:dntht

rusty, a p.i.p. is offered as a chance to a partner, instead of firing they are lucky enough to have a manager that believes in them and their possible redemption. but during lay offs, your friend will have to reasonably assume that if others in the same position are getting cut, he or she will probably be first in line for the door.

stocklover

It's happening again.....

demitasse

Mickey Blue Eyes,

I'm sorry there was no cream for you to use, that's stupid. Please be assured that next time if you just bring the carafe up to one of the workers they will happily get you some more. Not that you should have to do that, but unfortunately a lot of people aren't with it...Anyway, just ask, I'm sure the barista will get you some as quickly as possible.

stocklover

COTH means that if Chet is booking meeting rooms and everyone at the SSC knows it that the rooms will be used for getting "the package"

SMD----where did you hear that? reliable source 'cause we have been reading about ASM position for like 6 months now....

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