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March 07, 2009


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Does anyone know when the next 200 store closing will be announced? I heard it was at the end of this fiscal year. Is that true?


@SoOverIt -- at least from what I was told, there is not going to be a list of the additional stores being closed. Stores will be evaluated on an individual basis and store partners will be notified 30 days in advance if that store is closing...


if i dont meet the new optimal scheduling, can the sm or dm give out exceptions?

i only work sat + sun, 11hrs total. (5.5hrs each) i hate taking a lunch break, which is required at 6hrs at my store.


if you only work sat/sun then you have to work 16 hrs or two 8hr shifts..that's the policy with optimal scheduling


Just random Clover thoughts:

^ Desperately needs to be updates. The new coffees are 100% Kona and Yirgacheffee. Fabulous!! And I think there are more stores than what's listed on the store locator.

It seems like Starbucks is not so good at keeping websites up to date.

^ I love this site, and I love how Pike Place Roast has never been added to the list of coffees they sell!


so.... yet another massive realignment of the coming down on Monday. LaPorta and Twohig are indeed gone. Other big names getting the boot include - if I'm not mistaken - Chet Kuchinad and Terry Davenport.

U.S. will be down to three regions from four: North, South and New England (North and New England seasonal marketing, South warm weather marketing). Partner resources is largely being taken out of the field and moved to Seattle.

Burrows still on top of the U.S. business; new SVP of "LEAN" being put in place. A round of licensed store RVPs getting axed so the licensed stores can ultimately report to co&o SVPs.

My editorializing -- finally some good changes since there have been a lot of comments here about different regions each doing their own thing. In my region, for example, we have been given instructions to DOWNSELL our $6 and $7 customers to the $4 pairing so we can report good numbers, even though store sales and average ticket are sliding. (Really dumb regional directive!!)

Kuchinad universally disliked for taking the results of the last Partner View survey and essentially flushing them down the toilet because he didn't like what we told him was happening to our morale. So so so so hope he's toast.


Actually it looks like Kuchinad might be staying since he leads the Global function while only the U.S. business is being realigned. Sigh...


@anon: Wait. Didn't Terry Davenport just get a promotion into his position, and he's already gone?


^ Call me crazy, but I sometimes wonder if there is any other U.S. corporation where being a senior officer means that you're almost a public figure ...Do Nordstrom shoppers even know who any SVP in their corp is?


Davenport's status is unclear because his name is conspicuously absent from the memo. Michelle Gass still heads the function, and at the very least there will be a new head of marketing for the U.S. business. Details to come Monday.


I just wanted to say that I am saddened by the fact that two of our store's partners will be working their last shifts next week. One of them has been in our store for quite a while. The other partner whom i shall call, "E" will be missed by everyone. She is a kind soul, a dedicated partner who was willing to work other peoples shifts in a crunch. She will be missed immensely. I am proud to say that over the past couple of weeks and also her last day I will be working with her. She is someone that shouldnt be let go. She is truly a dedicated partner.


What have you all heard about this...is this what you are doing?

With the latte pairings there are not suppose to be any substitutions, but my SM is having us ring up pairings even if someone orders a mocha or chai latte. So for example...if a customer is buying a tall mocha and oatmeal we are to charge for the pairing and then add mocha. If it's a chai, we charge for the pairing and then add chai. I know it's to get our numbers up but is this right? Anyone else doing this?

the truth hurts


There were lots of dedicated partners let go. I hate it. It didn't have to be as bad as it is. Not all but some of the layoffs had nothing to do with the economy and everything to do with mismanagement.

Starbucks numbers have been disappointing for over two years now and the SBUX stock chart proves that. If the senior management had just recognized the warning signs, we would not be in as bad of a position now. Opening stores without regard of need, taking the focus off speed of service, hiring upper managment from outside the company instead of from within the company, numerous idiotic promotions and new beverage ideas (that failed miserably), and the total diregard of all our companies guiding principles are just a few examples of this mismanagement.

We can thank Howard, the Board of Directors and senior management (as well as the economy) for all the great partners that are no longer with Starbucks.

Howard's Archnemesis

I hope Chet's time is up. He's a lying snake and a womanizer. Of course he and Schultzie are a pair. Chet would sell his own mother to gain a little more on his already overdone paycheck. Perhaps Mike Stafford from "Talent Management' will be gone as well. Certainly people are tired of his a$$ki$$ing to protect his overstated role in the company that has no business reason to exist. I'm sure his ego is stinging from having a couple of long-term historical partners on his team go to Howie to keep their jobs after Stafford put them on the layoff list.

Good riddance to the lot of them. The company needs them to go to get it's soul back.



Our DM told us to do that. I don't know if it's right or not, but she is trying to "secure her position" on her RD's team. I've actually been incouraged to talked customers out of paying full price for other pastries to get them to purchase the pairing. It can't be making the company money because very few customers are buying the pairing that weren't going to buy a pastry anyway. It's madness!!!


I call all the upper managment layoffs a good start!

Howie's Good Buddy

Let's not forget that Jim Alling had been showing Howard his hit list of under-performing, money-losing stores for a while before he left and suggested closing those stores at least 2 years ago and Ole Howie said "No, we're opening more stores, we will not close any stores". So Alling gets shown the door and Howie finally gets it through his fat dullard head that maybe they should close stores after all...

but no, Howard is a genius... just brilliant Howard... for someone who has all the money he needs, a wife that stuck by him with his infidelity issues, people who want to do a good job for him.

He sure is a complete moron


Hey Starbucks...not just on this website but everywhere, does it seem partners and customers are lossing faith in the company? I hear more Starbuck bashing everywhere. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it is undeserved.


I had the day off and didn't want to drive to get coffee today. I took two packets of Italian roast via and 16oz of cold water, added some ice and WOW! It was so good. I was really surprised but it was awesome! Not sure how it would be hot, but its my new iced coffee on days off.


I stopped by the Starbucks Drive thru today, the one thats a couple of blocks from the corprate bldg and the barista's there are awesome!! I talked with the young girl about how slow business has been. I then gave her a $2 dollar tip and she was so grateful. I feel for you barista's. Dealing with the public all day,having hours cut,crappy DM'S. I feel your pain. I average my 40 hrs per week but my fellow partners in the roasting plant are being told to take thursday off and work a saturday, or go home 3hours early. We have 11 Pack lines in our plant, and on Friday only 1 was roasting coffee!! We all wonder if Howard will close the Kent Roasting Plant. Has anyone heard anything?

Killer Kona

We are also upselling the pairings. If the custy wants a syrup or mocha, we just charge them for it as if we were charging for soy. If a customer orders a brewed coffee and a sandwich, I ring it up as a pairing adjusting for the size of the coffee. It's all there on the POS, there are size adjustments under pairing menu, and there is always the syrup/milk menu. Upselling like this raises average ticket,keeps the customer happy, and looks good for our daily pairing goals. The substitutions that are not allowed are pastry substitutions,and a latte for the brewed coffee combos.If the customer pays for the syrup,extra shot,soy or larger size they should be able to get it. I have yet to hear a complaint, even when they add a syrup or get a larger brewed coffee they still save money. Especially if they use a registered card or gold card, it's a win win situation.


Kona coffee. Ugh.
Enjoy your 2000 (or lower) elevation overpriced novelty swill. I can't believe the people that convince themselves that just because this dirt is in small supply, it must be good.

Hawaii's farmable peaks are at a lower elevation because GOD NEVER WANTED COFFEE TO BE GROWN THERE.



We've been told the same thing.

Corporate is sinking so damn low on all these "promos", it's pathetic. They are abandoning everything that made them what they are. Every ridiculous backpedaling decision is not helping. They want to make a profit but none of these so-called promos are making them money. It's bringing down the average ticket more and more.


Items that concern me about this promotion...

*Baristas using the exact words "value meal" or "combo meal" when describing the pairings to customers (like others have pointed out, how is that any different from 'would you like fries with that'?)

*Targets are more important than average ticket. Customers who normally order a venti mocha and a $2 pastry are being pushed the promo just for the sake of satisfying the DM/RD on the store's target. This amounts to downselling and lowers total sales, total revenue, and average ticket -- the very problems the SSC is having panicked meetings about!

*Customers who come in every day for a grande brewed coffee eventually tire of hearing if they want to pair it with a breakfast sandwich for $4. I already have one or two-a-day customers rolling their eyes and it won't be long before they're fed up and desert us. Hey, we all know it's not the Pike Place that'll keep em comin'. Better have that bold brewed before noon.

*It seems really weird to be driving this promo "in store" -- this really should have been an "out of store" promo seeking to get people who aren't coming through out doors coming again... which means ads in newspapers and websites... but is our famous word-of-mouth marketing going to work for this... "Hey, Sally, I know you stopped going to Starbucks, but every time I go in they're pushing this $3.95 promo... maybe you should start coming with me again!"

I can see Howard's noble intention in wanting to seem value conscious, but the field leadership has turned this into a huge clusterf--k that has done more to destroy the brand than auto machines and drive thrus. This week was the week I wish I could have quit in disgust.


do barista raises hurt sm bonuses/whatever ? , iow any $$ reason to give low scores...

still me

I just learned the store I had to leave changed their milk order. They are now only having enough half and half and coffee cream until about noon. The rest of the day the customers can have whole or nonfat. This will apparently save some dollars on dairy. And drive away some more customers. I'm really wondering if they are having some kind of test: How long will it take and what do we have to take away until no one will come through these doors anymore.


latisha: as has been stated numerous times in many threads, the only thing that affects the SM bonus is sales. Just sales. Hourly wage rates do impact the profitablility of the store, but that is no longer a consideration regarding the quarterly bonus. I try to give raises to my hourly partners (if merited) as much as I can. The more my partners make, the more likely they are to stay. I would much rather pay a little more for an experienced partner. Unfortunately, the suits don't appear to feel the same way, especially when it comes to SMs.


lattegal: you're just now catching on to this kind of thing? I'm guessing your store hasn't won very many sales contests. (No offense.)


Please send your condolences to Dena, barista @ licensed store in Krogers, Marion IL. Her father passed away this week. Dena is a lovely lady and a very good barista. Our thoughts & prayers go out to her and her family.

vicki Verona

your hourly wage has nothing to do with manager bonus. Your performance. I'm sure you believe you're a 3 in every category but look up the success profile on the portal and see what behaviors you must exemplify in order to EARN a 3.


my question is regarding via. i know its only available to customers in seattle but my store got some for the baristas to try. im in canada and i already know im going to go through our samples fast. i want to know:

are we going to receive any more samples when we run out?

p.s. what do you guys think of via?


Quick Question for those in the know. I am thinking about asking for a demotion from ASM to SS. How is the pay issue handled? Do I go back to my last SS pay?


I am in southern Illinois and my local licensed store has VIA. They were told that they are 1 of only 3 licensed stores outside Seattle to get it. I think it is very good. I have already bought several pkts. I would gladly send you a sample if you'd like. My email is kjminton@hotmail.com. Melody sent me some Aged Sumatra recently and I would like to pass on the favor.



No, I'm not just now "catching on" to these things. Just wondering how many others are doing this. The more I think about it the crazier it is because when you go to Mcdonalds and order a #1 (hamburger and drink) you can't get them to add 30 cents and make it a big mac and a drink.


Also, what exactly does "no substitutions" mean? Just asking for the sake of conversation about this promo...


anonym -

Via is also available in Chicago and you can order it online as well.


in the dc area, going tom asm to ss you only lose $2/hr.

incidently, going from ss to shift you only lose $0.50/hr. (getting promoted from barista to shift = +$1.50/hr)

so become shift then step down to barista a month later.

being promoted to shift counts as your raise. thus wait till after your automatic 10% raise at 6months


I confess I'm drinking Via Italian Roast right now. It's very good, I just wish the little packets made more than just 8 ounces. 12 ounces would be about right for me.

@anon - your post about the pairings is so right on the money. I don't realistically think you'll email me but I have a question about the management shuffle that I'm not totally comfortable asking here so is it possible you could email me at melodysv2vaddress@live.com? I guess won't have any way of knowing if it is really you ... maybe not such a good idea. LOL.

It's been a while since I've posted about trying to get brewed non-PPR. There's just NO consistency. I've had the experience a couple of times where the person at the register simply won't make you a drip-brewed pot of coffee, and you either get PPR or the highway, or a substitution like an Americano, or a french press, but then the barista at the bar gets in the conversation, and says "of course we can do that." That happened to me exactly again today. The register barista was giving me a "no" and rolling eyes, and the bar barista jumps in and genuinely says that they'd be happy to brew a 1/4 batch if I have a few minutes to wait. It's interesting to me that even within one store, what you get will vary depending on who is working. But I left happy and thanked them, and of course I tipped.

just got hit with a vanilla bean

so with the new "lean" that means we break everything down to a standard motion that all employees can do in the same time with the same result and you are thinking about two drinks at a time and the the robot makes the standard responce to the customer of how is your day then you pause for exactly... seconds and then standard responce thank you then proceed to next drink and standard how is your day................. is this what the company wants? then ok whatever you say. mathmatical formulas can not standardize that at 9:27am there will be ? customers in line on thursday every week and they will order ? pay cash and need two extra straws with a four-slot tray.


@Melody ~
Sadly, part of that is sheer laziness in baristas. Occassionally one of my closers will do something like that and I, or another partner will have to jump in and save the day. I try to coach on that right away. It's no big deal to brew coffee or make a french press for a customer, and noone should ever make you feel bad for asking. If you consistently have that problem in the same store, I would talk to the manager. Maybe they need to have a talk with their folks.


We are barely making our budget as it is, and frankly, it seems utterly ridiculous to me to try talking customers DOWN into a pairing, or worse, working the system by ringing it up all sneaky, just so that our numbers reflect us selling more of them. That is definitely NOT helping us make budget.

3yr Partner

Lattegal -

No substitutions is in regard to the food pairings. My store does not have the breakfast sandwiches so the pairing offerings are only for the RF Cinnamon Swirl coffee cake or the oatmeal... so the customers can't ask for a RF Blueberry coffee cake and still get the pairing deal. We can use modifiers on the drinks so they can still have whatever latte they want... but there's no "sub" button for the pastries.


"The more I think about it the crazier it is because when you go to Mcdonalds and order a #1 (hamburger and drink) you can't get them to add 30 cents and make it a big mac and a drink."

That's because the shifts at McDonalds don't have to call in their numbers twice a day to their DM and the managers aren't in fear for their jobs.

3yr Partner

Moiraine -

I completely agree with you. As a barista myself, who is VERY hard-working... I frequently get annoyed by partners who are not willing to "just say yes" and go above and beyond for the customers. Sadly, many of the lazy ones happen to be ss at my store. If I jump in and correct them in order to accomodate the customer's [reasonable] request (such as brewing a 1/4 batch, as in your example), somehow I'm made to look like the "bad" one even though I'm polite... the ss feels like I am usurping his/her authority (which, I am, because he/she was wrong). And unfortunately my SM is passive and doesn't step in and say something to the ss. Uggh. Somehow, in the micromanaging of sales, it seems like we've lost the heart of the company.


What do ya'll think of the new breakfast deals?

mary lou

i need help. i am a 5 year partner battling severe depression, a recently resurfaced eating disorder to cope, and undergoing genetic testing for Huntington's disease. nontheless, my store is the only place im okay with in my life right now. i am a passionate shift and give %1000 all the time. last week i asked my ASM if it was possible to get two or three midshifts or opens to help me get back on track and take care of myself. as is right now i've been closing the store every night im there and i work 40hrs/wk. it's exhausting and i need balance. he flipped out on me and screamed at me in front of other partners claiming that "nothing he does is good enough for us" and things of this nature. this is BS. he hasn't done anything for us to deserve a response like that anyways! one week later...no im sorry or anything. havent seen him or talked to him. i called the store yesterday and he answered the phone. i told him i had no money and no gas and i was wondering if he could spare a partner for a few to come pick me up. (i was in at 2)he said "do you know how this looks?" i'm furious, used, confused, and hurt... what can i do. cant find the partner contact center # to ask for advise either. SM out for past 3 months with health issues. unapproachable DM.


mary lou, you don't need Starbucks Gossip, you need professional help if you are being truthful here.

mary lou

well as i said im looking for guidance through the company and cant find any #'s i need as they are all at my store. i just need advise as to how everything went down. am i expected to sit and take it? i already know im not according to guiding principals and whatnot which is what i love most about sbux but honestley within the store the SM's and ASM's can and will ultimatley do whatever they want with no reprecussions...i.e. yelling at a SS in front of other partners. am i in the wrong here to be asking for advise or anothers P.O.V. on the situation?


The company has no heart. They used to be able to appear to have one, but that lie was uncovered when things started getting hard for BUX. Howard takes care of Howard, and that's it. Everyone is out for themselves at the top. The only goodness that exists in the company can be found at the bottom. Most long term baristas, SS's, and SM's have a heart and true passion to do the correct thing. That's why the company has attempted to get rid of these fine partners recently. They found it's too hard to manipulate these quality partners and turn them into the slim they've become.

The company still preaches great things but means none of it. Just look at how they act instead of what they say.

mary lou


the truth hurts

Our company's great "guiding principles" no longer guide our company. The company has become like most others. It chews you up and spits you out. It uses people.

The only reason they call us "partners" is to get us to work harder for them by making us think we're doing it for ourselves. So maybe we are all out for ourselves.

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