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June 30, 2009


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mmmmm, now re-formulated freezer-burned, hard as a rock bakery offerings! Wow! And now natural and good for me..?! How about they make their syrups all natural?! Then they can brag!


Agreed. But let's really talk about the scare tactics being implemented upon store managers about meeting sales goals on items. "Sell X amount of promotional items by end of day. This is no longer a guideline, but a requirement." ~ That is quoted from one of the emails my manager received Monday morning before launch.


My customers have loved the new pastries. One tasted the blueberry oat bar and bought 2 packs. I think the new pastries are a vast improvement! We sold out of the new raspberry muffins. We did sample most of the new pastries. I have tomorrow to do more!

We sampled the new vivanno all morning, sold 2. I should say it wasn't very warm this morning where we are. I am sure the treat receipts will boost vivanno sales in the afternoons. Along with every other iced beverage. I am a little scared about lack of partners on the floor for the afternoons. That...and we are down one blender. It should be here this Friday! *crosses her fingers*


Hmmm...and if not..then what? I say blame Howard and his band of fools :)

Pat Nerr

good luck Starbucks...

anyone wanna take a guess at what the excuse will be when THIS attempt at guessing what the customer wants, poops the bed?

Howie, you're a gentleman and a scholar


This is an email that I sent to Starbucks this morning.

Good Morning,

First of all I would like to address an issue that has been looming in my mind and then the specific incident that occurred this morning.

As I am sure you are aware many people in the midst of this vacuous economy have chosen coffee and more specifically Starbucks as one of those little luxuries with which they cannot pass. My wife and I are two such people. We have been hit very hard by the current economy as I am a real estate agent and she is self employed. Although we do not buy coffee as frequent now we do consider it a great indulgence. With that said I have watched over the last few months as your pricing has continued to creep up in its usual fashion. In a normal economy this is not a big deal . But in a climate where many are slashing prices or closing their doors this in unconscionable in my mind. I have seen favorite pastries and in store retail items slide ever so slowly up in an economy where "restraint" is the mantra of the day.

Today specifically, I went in to get my usual a "Iced Venti Starbucks Double Shot,” and to my surprise it had taken a 27 cent hike. The excuse, "We don't have that button anymore." But the reality that I heard from a barista is that there was a clear mandate on how to ring it up, "Americano with an add shot."

It is not my place to question your business model. But it is my place to consider the long and short term direction of my home. So for us we will likely have to choose another outlet for our luxury expense line item.

Say my name in that store to Patrick or just about any member of his staff and they will know me and exactly what I drink. In the bigger picture I am clearly aware that my presence or lack thereof will make little to no difference in the bottom line. But the truth is that your consideration of each individual customer will drive the long term success or failure of who you are as a corporation but more specifically a brand. There is an old quotation that says, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but in accordance with sound judgement.”

With this I will leave you. Thank you for your time and consideration.

P.S. What does a guy need to do to find a venti clear plastic cup?


To fight this stupid promotional "requirements," perhaps we should draft a letter to the SEC. That would get their attention. Or the wall street journal.


yeah starbucks is all corporate now...we don't care anything about numbers...like percentages of customer enjoyment/satisfaction...not the real people out there shopping with us.

I'm a partner and I walked out of a city store today because there was a huge line...and I only saw 2 people on the floor. Horrible!!! I'm not waiting 20 minutes for coffee!


i was pretty sure we were supposed to ring the double shot up as an americano add classic. not add a shot. that's what the memo said, anyway. the price difference between adding syrup and adding a shot is 20 cents, so it could make a big difference in price for a lot of people.


To Limey:

Elaborate. You get freezer burn pastries? All of my pastries I buy are delicious. If it wasn't I would take it back. Maybe you should just not go anymore instead of complaining over someone that makes no sense to complain about? Just a suggestion.

Pat: Customers wouldn't want someone a little more natural? I have had the pleasure to sample a lot of it and it tastes great. Why are you so negative about it and assume things you do not understand? That is the question customers reading would want to know from negative people like you.

Just try.

Yeah the automatic negativity surrounding this launch is pathetic! Of course it's going to fail if the baristas all have your No can do attitudes.

The food is good. Shut your negative yappers and sell some already. It blows my mind when u hear baristas take drink order and go straight to the total, not even giving customers a chance to order extras.

Starbucks is finally doing what everyone asked, simplifying, and you all still complain!

Pat Nerr

@Reudeness... I think what I said was this
"anyone wanna take a guess at what the excuse will be when THIS attempt at guessing what the customer wants, poops the bed?"

the answer to that is... customers have been asking for coffee but that seems to be of lesser and lesser importance. So, with food being a very small portion of profitable business... and I'm talking margin. Why such a big hoopla about how great the "New" food is... again.

Customers have been asking for actual free, minimal process wi-fi... where's the big announcement about that?

c'mon, you're smarter than that... Launching yet another round of food will not solve the bigger problem Starbucks has which is that it's losing its relevence to the customer... who is now going to places that feature local pastries, handcrafted coffee, free wi-fi and a less-than-cookie-cutter approach to their business...

keep up the good work...nice to see the SSC staying on top of things here at The Gossip


As far as customer reactions go, I haven't had one person who commented positively on the new recipes. I've had at least 8 people so far ask me, "What happened to the petite vanilla scones/oatmeal cookies/etc? They taste different, I don't like it." Trying to sell them on the new, simpler recipe isn't really working when they're used to it tasting better. I've found a few new pastries which I personally really like, though. We'll see.


I like the zucchini muffin. It is delicious. I do not like the toffee pecan bar. Haven't had a chance to try everything yet.

More importantly, I LOVE the new (red) coffee, and it was so nice to have Gazebo as my morning cup of coffee! Rwanda wasn't as good as I anticipated, but perhaps I should give it another try. Seriously, I'm evaluating whether (red) should be my new favorite coffee over sun-dried ethiopian.


In regards to the SBUX Double Shot on Ice, the direction is to ring as a Venti Iced Americano and add classic syrup. If rang that way, in my market at least, it is the exact same price. The thing that the geniuses in Seattle forgot (or more accurately just don't know b/c they have never put an apron on) is that Iced Venti Americanos get 4 shots and Iced Venti SBUX Double Shots get 5! Absolutely dumbfounded that they could release a memo like that and not even think it through...and anyway, what is taking the SBUX Double Shot off the POS do? Save money? Save space? There really is no reason to take it off the POS in the first place.


Lisa, you have to learn a little something about psychology. People don't like change to those things that they are used to. They will typically view change negatively out the outset, then, they will become used to something and if you brought back the old, they would again complain about how they don't like the new.


@ Gerrard

Thank you! My sentiments exactly.


To Pat:

Please elaborate on customers wanting "Coffee". Are you bringing up the whiny "I want any type of coffee i want at all hours" customers? I am confused on "wanting coffee". If you are willing to wait a mere 5 minutes TOP you can have ANY coffee at the store brewed for you and charged for the size. I have even called ahead to insure Decaf for someone I am with so they can have it. She can't have but minimal caffeine but they don't know that.

Customers ask for many things, Pat. Wifi? They have a contract with AT&T on how it works. They will need to talk over a new deal where they provide free wifi or get out of the contract. However, I have free wifi at starbucks with my registered card. Registered once, now I have it free. I will help you register it if you're having problems. At least there is an OPTION they provided until Free Wifi can be accomplished. Should they just charge for it and not offer what they can for now?

Customers ask for different/better food options. Starbucks cannot, and will not, be perfect. No. Company. Is. You can complain about what you want to have, but don't blame a company for not doing what you think is the "great" idea. That's all.


@Rudeness -

Please don't get Melody and the rest of us started on the coffee topic. At most Starbucks you CANNOT have any coffee brewed for you. An Americano might be suggested as an alternative, but that's about it. Sadly, in 2009 it's PPR or nothing so very much of the time.


To anon:

I am just confused on how I can get any coffee french pressed/brewed for me at every Starbucks I have gone to and no one else has such luck. What do they say? "No, sir, I do not want to charge you $3.70 for a French Press or $1.65 for someone you want because Starbucks hates money!"? You have to wait, but you know what is available and if it isn't worth the wait then it isn't worth complaining about. One store I went to ALREADY stopped brewing Decaf at noon a year ago because no one bought it.

Pat Nerr

@Rudie... again, back to my original question...

anyone wanna take a guess at what the excuse will be when THIS attempt at guessing what the customer wants, poops the bed?

I'm just curious if anyone wants to take a guess at what the excuse will be when this doesn't drive more customers in the store... sorry if your initiative is being scrutinized... I guess time will tell...


And to add, I am not trying to "start" anything. It's an actual question on why your Starbucks, and others, refuse to brew at the very LEAST the bold from the morning whenever you want as long as you are willing to wait. It really astounds me. Has anyone tried to ask and what are they told? If you are being refused what you want brewed if you are willing to wait then that is a SERIOUS problem!



Perhaps it's a matter of interpretation on the part of store management and the baristas, but "brew on demand" means unless you "demand" it, you do not get it. Simply asking for bold is not enough. You need to D*E*M*A*N*D it. And that, in and of itself, absolutely destroys any remaining Starbucks Experience.


Another "whiny" customer here. I admit my first reaction in Apr '08 was to stick out my lip, and stomp my little foot. But then I headed off to the indy. Funny how the bold coffee this company was originally founded on is now a side item, like an afterthought.

Every time I read things like "Starbucks customers have been telling us that they want better tasting..." and "We answered their call..." and "Bringing the same passion Starbucks has in serving customers some of the best coffee in the world..." and "...an industry leader like Starbucks is listening to customers..." I just give a contemptuous snort, because I know that's just BS.

Pat Nerr, I honestly can't predict what their next excuse will be. I guess I'm not so imaginative. But I'm sure they will grab whatever is the most convenient, as long as they can blame it on something other than bad decisions at sbux. Interestingly I was reading the list of new pastries thinking I might like to try them. But then, I don't go to sbux much anymore since bold is so scarce.

Rudeness, are you in Boston? Melody reported that she had a good experience with getting bold there.

"...why your Starbucks, and others, refuse to brew at the very LEAST the bold from the morning..."

Many of us have the same question, but we're still not getting a satisfactory answer. I've not usually been in a hurry at sbux, but I know plenty who are. I say make bold available all the time (like they used to) and make the PPR customers wait. Or at least switch it up once in a while.


I thought the memo just said to ring in the SD as an americano add syrup, which is correct for a tall or a grande...it didn't specify "venti" in the email. I'm assuming that the correct procedure for ringing the venti is to ring an americano + classic + add shot...maybe they just assumed we would figure that out?

So to the customer upset about the price hike...it sucks I know, but the fact is it was a promotional drink at a promotional price, and you got lucky getting that promotional price for all that time.

It just goes back to having to PAY for what you want, unfortunately...especially a bummer since you got accustomed to having that 5th shot for free.


Pat Nerr and Rudeness..

I have been on this site forever.I have heard Melody's plea for bold and ot have it brewed on demand. At least when I am running my shift I do what is required. I had to coach a barista today to "just brew the bold already". He was getting snippy with a customer. I cannot handle that.If the customer wants bold, give it to them. I don't understand the issue. I don't know why peeps won't just brew it if cusotmers want it.Blows my mind!

Call me Crazy! but I am brewing for those who ask it. Maybe I will just change my name to Crazy on here, LOL


I went to my local sbux today and half the display case was empty. I tried the cheery cherry pie and it was just okay. Not worth the $3 at all. Everything else that was left looked pretty gross and over priced. Maybe I came too late in the afternoon.
I then bought a orange mango vivanno without the banana. Oh my gosh! It was terrible!! It tasted like powdered liquid amoxicillin. I told them to leave the banana out which they did because the barista repeated the order back to me as she handed it to me. Also, if the banana is left out why is the color of the drink yellow? What a waste of $4! Let's not mention that it took me 5 minutes to get a drink when there were 4 baristas working, no other customers, and one car in the drive through. I'm taking a little time out from Starbucks after today.


Sorry for the multiple posts, but I forgot something. When I ordered my pastries (I also bought my mother a passion something or another bar) the barista said she had the ring the food up separately from the vivanno drink. I've gotten food and beverages together before. Is this a new change?


This evening, shortly before 6, I ran into a Starbucks because I was a little hungry & thought that tonight I might need to stay a little late at the office.

I grabbed the Farmer's Market Salad. Wasn't there a very similar salad about 2 years ago? Anyway, I thought it was very good, and I would definitely get it again. It's been a long time since there has been a salad in the food selection, and so it's a welcome change of pace.

I thought the portion of dressing for the salad was a bit small, but then, I know it's bad, because I probably like too much dressing on a salad.

I had a treat receipt so I splurged on a Frappuccino - I asked if they could make a tall coffee frappuccino in my to-go cup and use the receipt, and the baristas obliged.

I'd previously tried a small sample of (Red) and Rwanda through the Clover (tried it early), but hadn't yet (at that point) bought any. I already wanted to try them again.

The black apron barista saw me staring at the Rwanda coffee. (There were only 2 working). Much to my surprise, she asked me if I wanted to try a French press of it to try it out? I was sort of stunned. It's been a long while since any barista randomly offered to sample a coffee ... And because of my constantly being drawn to the Clover which produces a very consistently fabulous coffee, I haven't even had a French press in a while, until now.

After much discussion, I told the barista that I would buy a pound of the Rwanda and just charge me for the pound, but make a French press now, and I'll take the left over beans home. (I would've bought the pound anyway; it was clear she thought I was a little strange, but she did sell me the pound and make the press of coffee from it).

Wow. That was an amazing press. It was perfect. (I've had times where it came out tasting wrong, or grinds in it ...). It's hard to describe but I nearly cried it was so good! The coffee was heavy bodied like the Yirgacheffe. A rich sweet spice smell ... The coffee says it's medium in body, but I think it is heavy. Oh it was a wonderful moment. I should stop being such a snob about the Clover; It was good to be reminded that a French press can be close to heaven. Thank you to barista "Willow" who doesn't know me, but made my afternoon.

I think this fits in this thread ... the Rwanda coffee and the Farmer's Market Salad are all new as of today.

Of course anon and Stlouiedrip have already said everything that I would normally say about "brew on demand". I agree I agree I agree with them.

I'm starting toI hate this site


If you don' t like your drink TAKE IT BACK! Starbucks doesn't punish you for trying sonething new. Tell the Batista it wasn't what you thought it would be and order something else. If you choose not to I don't see how it is Starbucks fault.

I love the new food! The morning bun is awesome and the new salad is great and a great value at $5.

Grande Latte

In what parts of the country are DM's making these sales demands on the SM's? We've had none of that in Chicago, have we?


I love the new Banana Walnut loaf b/c it actually tastes homemade.

If you ask ME for bold, and we aren't brewing it, I will say, "All we have right now is Pike Place, but if you don't mind waiting about 4 minutes, we can brew the Bold, or we can make you an Americano." Not every barista offers this right off the bat, even when they've been told to...sounds like there are a lot of lazy, grumpy baristas out there (and in my store)!

And as for the Vivanno without Banana...if you were to order that for me, I would say "We can do it, but it's going to change the taste and consistency (as in texture)of the drink." And if they ask, I'll say that I can't vouch for whether it will even taste good b/c I've never had it that way. And as for the yellow color? Bananas are white, only the peels are yellow. The yellow comes from the orange mango juice.


I do not like that the oatmeal and latte pairing is gone. II have yet to ever write to Starbucks about anything, but I did write them about this. t was like getting the oatmeal for $1 more than a latte. Now I will probably get oatmeal far less.

Batista Ben

I don't mind brewing bold it decaf any time of the day. What drives me nuts is the people who are mad they then have to pay. Seriously? You don't get free stuff.

I am not sure how this pastry overhaul will effect my store. Pretty sure we've already been getting these new pasteries. At least they changed a few weeks ago. I'll find out tommorrow!

Aces of Eight

I have literally been told by my SM and DM that I am NOT allowed, PERIOD, to OFFER to brew bold, I can offer them an americano (I am not really allowed to offer a french press either) I can only brew them bold if they absolutely refuse to accept pike place, or an americano, and then follow up by DEMANDING that we brew them some bold.

And if they find out I didn't follow those instructions I assure you I would get a warning first, did it again I would get written up and my job would be in jeopardy.


Can someone tell me if starbucks actually makes any money for these two dollar drinks??? I mean that's like 50% off on the price of Vivanno...

Wow.. sounds like a very last attempt to bring in afternoon traffic...


@Redd- That's the rub.

For those of us who would rather drink a bold in the afternoon instead of PPR...To have to 'demand' a bold batch brewed, well, lets say, it's not worth the trouble. Most baristas I've encountered at the BUX would rather not do it. Only one, recently, even offered to do it. So I just accept the PPR as the ONLY coffee option, drink it, and move on. To demand it, is percieved as 'uncool' by the barista and they project that they're 'put out' by having to brew bold on demand. Perhaps that's not the intent, but from my customer experience, that is EXACTLY what's projected to the customer by the barista.

And I feel the plight of Melody and others here. I long for the old days when I could get a drip brew of Verona, Sumatra, Yukon, Gold Coast, French Roast etc at any SBUX pretty much anytime I happened to wander in. Remember how great those coffees tasted? I'm begining to forget.

Back to Basics

How are the Treat Receipts going? My store is dead in the afternoon, so I enjoy the afternoon people coming in to get their second drink of the day, ha!

Aces of Eight

Vincent, you just don't get it at all do you? It has nothing to do with the barista. You have to understand that hourly store level employees have no power at all, and have to do what they are told if they want to keep their jobs. They are NOT ALLOWED to OFFER you bold. And the way the system is set up, they are supposed to feel resentful and you are supposed to feel like you just ran a marathon.

It has NOTHING to do with the barista's, or the customers, this situation is ENTIRELY the fault of the SSC. I know it's easy to blame the barista's, but it really has NOTHING at ALL to do with them.


daltizer -

Get use to the price increases. Starbucks leadership is in favor of the Cap and Trade bill that just passed in the House. A representative even mentioned Starbucks on the house floor as one of the companies that had contacted the Obama administration saying they were in favor of this sham of a bill. This bill will increase the price of EVERYTHING! It's the largest tax increase that American's have ever had.



Aces of Eight- The 'bold issue'..

Oh I do 'get it' to a point. But the fact of the matter is that 99% of SBUX paying customers do not. They don't understand the 'how come?' and that's why the PPR all-day marathon makes no sense to the coffee dinking consumer.

So if what you're saying is 100% truly the case..Then perhaps the educational message you relayed in your last post should be plastered on the windows of every store by management so as to ensure when the PAYING customer is made to feel like poop by the barista that he/she can't get the bold coffee they like in a COFFEE shop, the barista wont get to blame..

It sucks. But the person on the front line of a stupid, nonsensical rule always takes the direct hit.


Treat Receipts: People present their treat receipts after they're all done telling you what their drink is so you have to go back and void it out. Also, the treat receipt does not allow the SM to track the products that are being used for the treat receipt and more importantly the labor necessary for it. Let's say that you go in and get an iced coffee in the morning but then come back again in the afternoon, for a peppermint java chip frappuccino. It turns into almost like a buy one get 50% off your next drink if you do it good.


Have you been to the new store at University Village?


Tried some of the new pastries,the Banana Walnut loaf is ten times better than it's predecessor, the "Cherry Pie" is decent. The Strawberry Banana Vivanno "Smoothie" is also decent, but not it doesn't live up to anything. By the way, it annoys me that we have to call the Vivanno a smoothie after nearly a year of its release. I also read the memo that described some of these new pastries and couldn't help to think to myself how full of crap it was. Personally, I don't think people will tell the difference with the pastries.

Customer: "These pastries don't taste the same and I don't like them!"

Barista: "Oh, it's because they took out all the artificial dyes and high fructose corn syrup from them!"

Customer: "You mean, all the good stuff? Don't you use artificial stuff to sweeten your drinks?"

Barista: "We might, but you're not supposed to know that."

We'll see how it goes.



Have you been to the new store at University Village?


^ Hi there! I wrote a series of 3 posts in the most recent open thread about the new University Village Starbucks store, but it quickly got buried since right now there is a million things to say about new coffee & new food. And to be honest, it was a tad anticlimactic since it essentially is a repeat of the Heritage Starbucks, with small changes.

@jonny - I think that the idea with the treat receipt is not just the discount. It's Starbucks trying to cultivate their afternoon business.

@Aces of Eight - I know you get it, and why you're not easily brewing up bold without a fight (given the directive from above you), but I have to wonder when, oh when, did Starbucks start hiring people who don't know that their "core competency" is still whole bean coffee (and no doubt that espresso based beverages too are a core competency). Is this a business concept that is foreign to DMs?

Rather than having a sales goal, that you must sell "x" number of new food items/pairings/Gold Cards maybe the goal should be to look at how whole bean coffee sells, and then to ramp up those sales by offering more coffee choices, getting people to try new coffees ...Is there a sales goal for the new Rwanda coffee or is it just the Strawberry Banana Vivanno that we care about at Starbucks?

Is the Valencia Gluten Free cake already gone or have just not noticed it around?

By the way, Aces of Eight your post about the short cups and the Russian customer was powerful!


Maybe they'll sell the new wonderful product offerings at their new Wal-Mart license store?


North Star Barista

Whole bean sale push was back in February or something like that.


@North Star Barista - If Starbucks were a business really about coffee, there should be whole bean goals every week. Every week, every day, should be about sampling and brewing coffee. Remember, there was a time when a coffee master was expected to sample coffees blindfolded and guess which ones they were. There wouldn't be pairings goals. And there wouldn't be a fleeting interest in coffee one or two months of the year.

Thought of the Day

FYI....$tarbucks Double Shot on Ice is still on $tarbucks main website under "beverage line up" - "cold espresso drinks"

Everyone needs clover

I went into my store today as a customer and was unaware of the launch until I tried to find something for breakfast.

I got a blueberry oat bar and it was actually pretty good, my only real complaint is that everything changed in the pastry case all at once. I had absolutely no idea what to order and no guess as to what would be any good, and I wouldn't have gambled money that the new food was worth it if I had to pay full price. I think a lot of customers will decide not to try something for two dollars and this will end up driving sales down.

The drop might only be temporary as customers find new items, but I don't think corporate has the fortitude or the inclination to wait out such a dip.

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