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January 26, 2009

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JoBarista

I for one am glad to see the SMs have been allowed to actually make a decision based on store sales instead of being micro-managed to the Nth degree. I have never liked seeing a quarter pot of decaf go down the drain every 30 minutes so I can serve 3 decafs in a 4 hour period.

For the customer who doesn't want to wait for the decaf to brew there is always the Decaf Americano. Many customers actually enjoy trying something different.

As far as quality/freshness goes, I don't think that the cup served 29 minutes into the hold time is better than the cup less than a minute into the hold time.

Latteguzler

We've been brewing the decaf this way for a few weeks now. Some customers hate to wait, some love the quality. I have to admit it does taste better. Besides, some of you talk like you own the company. You DON'T! The true owners are the major shareholders. They will do as they please with this company and you can bitch and moan all you want. Corporate America is not a democracy and never will be. They don't care what you think.

disturbing

Also I noticed in two stores that the cup lids are now more flimsy and generally cheaper. They don't snap in like the old ones.

Lori

Not all stores sell enough decaf to even brew from noon on. At my store, after 3pm we are lucky if we even sell more than 15% in brewed coffee sales. Seems all we sell after say 2 or 3pm is frappuccinos, Iced teas, and hot chocolates. If it is cold..the hot chocolates goe up. Even with 15%, only 2-6 cups are decaf, and we close at 9pm...if we brew decaf to have at all times, that's a lot of waste. I would rather wait 3 minutes...that's how long it takes to brew a quater batch..to have a fresh, piping hot decaf, (even regular, as I prefer caffine!) Even the few people who do get decaf usually request that we brew a fresh batch for them anyway! One night last week, we actually kept tally of how many decaf coffees were requested...2 talls and 1 grande 1/2 caf...the whole night! It doesn't work at ll stores but at least where I work it does! If you visit a store like mine, call ahead to ensure you have some nice fresh brewed decaf

patricksaurusrex

"It's not the employees of a service industry that dictates how customers are treated, it's the CUSTOMERS that dictate that!"

this statement seems irrelevant. i didn't talk about treating customers any way. i said that if they don't have four minutes to spare for a fresh pot coffee, then they didn't really have time to stop in our store to begin with. i didn't say that i treat them poorly or give them attitude if they can't wait. in fact i greet every customer the way i would want to be greeted, with a warm welcome and friendly smile 100% of the time. i apologize to my customers if they have to wait for coffee to finish brewing.

as an employee, this new policy wasn't my decision. i was told to this by corporate. and because i was told to do this by corporate, the partners are actually the ones who get to "dictate" that. in fact, the memo officially says it's OUR OPTION to do this based on our decaf sales. so yeah, according to corporate, i do get to "dictate" this. also, since this policy came about due to a low sale of decaf coffee, the customers did "dictate" this new policy by showing corporate their isn't a real desire or demand for it.

since you've decided to make assumptions about me, i'll make one about you. i bet your mother heard a lot of, "but mommy! i want it now," and it also kind of sounds like unfortunately you always got what you wanted. as i child, my parents taught me that you don't always get what you want when you want it.

"Virtue is relative."

virtues are based around morals. morals are based upon right and wrong, good and evil. morals don't result in someone receiving a product. they are about an inner fulfillment in yourself, and hopefully through observation, inspiring others to want to better themselves and to treat people with compassion. what we consider to be moral speaks volumes about us as who we are as people and how we treat others. patience has been on every list of virtues that i've seen since i was in grade school. i've never heard anyone equate efficiency with morality. in fact i usually hear efficiency used with electronics, policies and other inanimate objects. such as, "starbucks wastes so much decaf coffee that they've decided that a policy to brew decaf coffee on demand is more efficient then the previous policy of brewing a pot every half-an-hour." i also think it speaks highly of your morals that you seem so eager to see us get laid off.

i'm also not worried about losing customers from this new policy. our store seriously sells about 4 cups of decaf after noon. in my experience, customers come in at night for caffeinated coffee because they have a reason to stay up, or to sit in the cafe with friends and have absolutely no problem with the wait. the only time i can think of this being an issue is in the morning with the commuter rush, but the new policy doesn't effect that at all.

SBSiren1

Hmmm...who actually read the message to stores?

It gives the latitude to the store to do what's right, including "Consider your customer base and decaf requests after 12 p.m. to judge whether you should brew a batch of coffee to prepare for decaf customers."

But that's cool. I get it. It's better to just slam on Starbucks because that makes for a more interesting post?

How is giving permission to the store to do what's right and therefore reducing waste a bad thing?

spence

At 4:00, I prepped the decaf so I could hit the start button as soon as someone said "decaf". When we locked the doors at 11:00pm, no one had asked for it. We saved coffee and time remaking it.
Good idea for my store.

spence- that is a great way of doing it. Thanks for sharing the suggestion and success. Now lets talk about during those 3 mins how we can make that decaf customer a thrilled regular. (Serious suggestions like pariing, their job/ school life, shopping stories, local events, ect)... If you engage a customer for 2-4 minutes and let them know what is happening, they for the most part should be understanding. If you are showing an attiude of oh great, it will be 5 mins, we dont have any ready, ect, the guest will not be as open to it, not be happy and likely also not tip. Its your choice baristas, how will you represent your employer?

DARKROAST

Brewing a 1/4 batch--cool.
Especially if you know you have a handful of customers who DO request decaf. That way you'll have a little on hand to avoid the wait. But if your store sells one venti after 12, why bother wasting? It's just a matter of estimating the level of demand.
BTW, what's up with the vivanno recipe change rumour? Why can't we do away with those chalky-faux-Jamba-Juice disasters? What happened to "Back-to-Basics"?

Love reinforcing the right brew ring codes - I'll be doing that.

Surprised people are missing the point - that this is empowering SMs to run their brew business according to customer demand.

Ring accurately. Reduce costs. Reduce waste. Fresh brew. Happy customers.

scootes

my comment on the vivanno recipe change would be who didn't catch this in the development stage and why did it take this long to notice? every corporation has an exec chef that gets paid approx $ 100,000+ to check everything. i can tell you the people that got accustomed to the old recipe amount and order it in a venti cup are not going to be pleased. i have come to the point that i just say ok to all the directives coming down the pike(tee hee) and do my job as best as i can. i don't run this company and i don't make decisions for it, i just do what i'm told. the rest is up to the ones who make the choices for the future. it is kind of fun to sit back and watch the trheads flow full though.

just a thought

Mrs. Tillinghamshackles

DarkRoast,
Check the portal, its not a rumor. The change was instituted yesterday. I like it. Now the recipe doesn't always end up with a ton extra in the blender pitcher.

Well, look at it this way:

Your customers that enjoy decaf will leave. Why? Because you gave them that final nail in the coffin. They've been mulling over maybe cutting back or quitting Starbucks. I can hear then now, "Yeah, it's 2 bucks a day but MY GOD I SPENT $520 a year there last year?! Did I really?! Wow. I WILL CUT BACK. That's 25% of a vacation"

When you made their life harder, and made them wait, you gave them time to ponder. Pondering led to realization. And then they realize they're paying to wait on bad service and coffee that should be made avaliable as soon as they walk in the door. This is Starbucks! They do coffee. Well, did.

People are fickle. They will leave at the slightest whim. Don't give your customers the opportunity or reason to leave your stores!

Starbucks can't afford to lose customers, especially ones that are part of the flightiest consumer base ever in retail food service history.

That's why you keep decaf on hand (or bold, or not short your labor and create big lines.)

hanging on to hope

maybe french pressing decaf at the times (morning or evenings) that you notice decaf request are low from 1 lb. bags can be a win win solution. I think it differs from store to store.

If any customer gets mad because I no longer have an extra Vivanno left in the pitcher, they can honestly go to Jamba Juice for all I care. You get what you pay for. The Vivanno is priced for 16 oz, so thats what they are going to get. The only exception is that if they add modifiers like an extra banana.

Im happy about the new recipe!

DARKROAST

@Mrs Tillinghamshackles:
Thanks for the heads-up--no one at my store has even mentioned the Vivanno recipe change! Additionally, since the obscene cuts in labor, I went from working 5-6 days a week to 2 or 3, so I miss out on a lot of info. Thank (Diety) for blog sites!

CamSpi

I'd like to comment that when I went to the Waffle House they did not have coffee immediately ready. I had to wait for it. I know their core product is not coffee... but, nonetheless, they didn't have any ready. I've also gotten an iced coffee from McDonalds (on a roadtrip where a Starbucks wasn't available!) and had to wait for them to brew it as well. I've seen several comments that refer to McD's having brewed coffee ready all the time. Well, apparently not. Furthermore, the iced coffee I had was horrible.

cactusmush

PM Decaf on demand? That's ok by me. Good idea actually. I get a short decaf every afternoon on my walk home from work. About 1 in 10 times the staff says …says "you'll have to wait a minute because its still brewing" and they get a big thumbs up from me because it means the decaf is fresh. I'll wait 3-4 minutes for a fresh on demand cup any day. I think Sbux figures that decaf drinkers may be finicky by nature and therefore decaf drinkers may tolerate the wait. This is not a bad conclusion.

Eliminating Bold? - ...those are walking words and it will be so long Starbucks for me.

Clover? nice taste (had Clover in an indie shop in Halifax) but won't fly for Sbux at that price. It won't fly in the less urbane areas because no one will care for it. It won't fly in the big cities because there are too many real (i.e. indie) espresso bars to get a good taste of the bean for 1.50 a shot.

All Sbux has to do is bring back in-shop grinding for its drip and and maybe real espresso. It’s that simple.

I recommend

a) whole beans in full and half batch vacuum packs
b) Dust off the old grinder in order to deploy item a)

Do that and then Sbux is back in the quality coffee game. That’s all it takes to get back most of the mojo.

Oh and..
c) look up “crema” in Wikipedia and loose the Fisher-Price “espresso” machines.

c) is unrelated to Fresh Grind Brewing a)& b) but if we want to wish...wish big.



Crema_the_crop

Dear "Cactusmush",

All the hot brewed coffee served in-store is ground fresh every day.

Our beans intended for in-store brewing are shipped in five-pound "bullets"; retail whole bean is sold by the pound (and occasionally half-pound) in "vacuum sealed" packages.

The relationship between Starbucks and the espresso tradition is complex. Neither would be as popular or readily available in the U.S. without the other.

(Basically, it's not *our* fault you guys wanted your lattes in 3 minutes.)

PPR_Must_GO!

Not sure if this has been reported yet or not, I found out from the manager one of the franchised Starbucks stores I frequent
(in a Safeway store) that as of Sunday, they are no longer brewing House Blend as their regular coffee, but the Starbuck's version of gas station coffee, PPR! They apparently are not brewing the decaf at all, after noon according to her as well (as of Sunday)...Why? I do not understand how management of this company has strayed so far away from their core mission of offering good, fresh, flavorful brewed coffee. I have almost completely stopped going to the company stores in the afternoon because I knew I could at least get a Venti house at my local QFC, Albertsons, or Safeway (and use the Gold Card for the discount)...But as of Sunday, no more! Howard and friends must have invested pretty heavily in those Vietamese bean fields (as that is what PPR is purportedly roasted with)...Maybe I am in the minority, but I will pay more than the $2.00 a cup I do now if needed for a nice Sumatra, or Arabian Sanami, or whatever!

TxBarista

I think customers and barista can help each other out on putting the coffee of the day and morning pick and decaf back like the way it was before PPR came along. honestly, PPR is not the best coffee at all. I honestly prefer Casi Cielo to be the replacement of PPR! (it is a seasonal coffee but i can drink it all year long!) Here's the thing, barista get to write to the corporate any type of suggestions or comments that was given to them by other baristas or customers (it is called, Mission Review) well, as PPR issue, we can try to write down our comments about how bad the PPR is. come on, some other coffee are already seasonal, why don't we just brew other blends than the PPR!?

Melody

oh TxBarista, if you look at mystarbucksidea.com, and really look - do a search on the word "pike" and other close variations of it - and you will find that Starbucks has been flooded with complaints about the quality of Pike Place Roast. FLOODED. Maybe a "mission review" will help but I have my doubts.

I don't know what they're doing anymore. I couldn't even get a great cup of coffee at 12:05 p.m. today at the store at 1912 Pike Place (the original store- see my post in most recent open thread). Something's wrong. It is a philosophical shift away from coffee.

Here are just a few threads for you to look at:
http://mystarbucksidea.force.com/ideaView?id=087500000004aecAAA

http://blogs.starbucks.com/blogs/customer/archive/2009/01/28/decaf-after-noon.aspx

http://blogs.starbucks.com/blogs/customer/archive/2008/12/24/your-bold-solutions-a-follow-up.aspx

Maybe you'll have more luck on the partner side of the website than what's happening on the customer side.

"brew on demand" often gets translated into "we can't do that for you."

H.  Martinez

I think this is a good idea and I agree that is is cost saving and better for the environment. No matter what there reasoning is, I can'd disagree when it helps out a better cause. The thing with the decaf only til is actually kind of good at least for the store I work at. We sell at least a little regular coffee every hour, but we never sell decaf. Our morning is the peak for us and most people buy decaf or regular at that time. Then we don't sell any decaf for hours. Most people don't care that much either cause it's only 2 min for a fresh coffee. Most people get lattes and other drinks in the later hours of the day. Basic coffee is mostly a morning drink for people it seems.

Maida

Hi. Sometimes love will pick you up by the short hairs...and jerk the heck out of you.
I am from Estonia and also now am reading in English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "Airline websites - the article soyouwanna find a cheap plane ticket? Reveals that purchasing tickets directly from the airline can actually pay off — if."

With love :o, Maida.

Damian

I was so put off by the attitude of the bartista at my local starbucks when I asked for decaf that I don’t plan on returning to that starbucks, or any starbucks for that matter, unless there are no other coffee places around. She first said that decaf wasn’t availible, and then said they would make it as a favor, but only if I “really really really wanted it.” It was clear they didn’t want to make it, so I ordered regular even though I didn’t want the caffeine. Even the biggest dive of a restruant has decaf coffe, but not the largest coffee place in America. What a joke. I’ll never go back to starbucks unless it’s the only place around. What’s funny is someone at Starbucks is probably bragging about the EBIT they saved by eliminating decaf, and of course the numbers they use to support their savings will not reflect the gradual loss of customers, nor will it reflect the loss of “goodwill” with their customers. To the poster above who said that customers don't get to dictate what Starbucks does, customers can decide if they want to patronize starbucks. And I will not be any longer. In this way, customers do dictate starbucks behavior over the long term. Unfortunately, cost saving projects that look at short term savings, often fail to look at the long term impact.

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