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August 13, 2009

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HardOpinion

Typical analyst - looks at the numbers only and makes a 3 year favorable prediction so they justify putting their clients into the stock. The broker cites the international arena as the real growth area for Starbucks, but fails to mention that Sbux is closing or putting up for sale 31 stores in the UK alone. The latest opening in Holland will only go well if they follow the liberal Dutch approach and offer beer, wine and all the pot you can smoke!

No account would appear to be taken either of the declining store staff morale and declining staff retention. This turnover in staff is likely to increase once the economy stabilizes and alternative job options materialize. The cost of this will drain any financial improvements and possibly place more stores in the US under the microscope as closure targets.

In the end, as many on this site have aptly said, Starbucks is a corporation and will make it's money anywhere and anyway it can, if that means shutting every store then so be it - they will sell any product into any sales channel they can. Its the brand and logo that sell now, not Lean process driven stores.

Starbucks has long ceased to be about "people" (customers or partners) it is now solely about corporate bonuses and stockholder returns.

It will be interesting to see if any of the major players issue such bullish forecasts - none have so far!

NO POT

They are not offering pot in Holland and are only selling in airports and the tube-NO POT MAN!!!

Number crunchers, UGH

HardOpinion I found it interesting that no mention of the fact that in the last year the company has dropped from their standing of #7 of the top 100 companies to work for down to #27 and the new list will be out soon. Granted in the past these surveys were done primarily from the SSC in Seattle but seeing that over 1000 were laid off from there alone it will be interesting to see if SBUX even makes the top 50 category. Thanks for looking at the whole picture, it saved me some time not having to say the exact same thing.

Still think when stock gets back up a little more PEPSI is going to take over and Mr. Schultz will be moving to a villa In Italy.

Field Partner

@Number crunchers, UGH - the "Top 100 Companies To Work For" list doesn't mean a thing as far as stock valuation goes. An efficient work place means more to stock analysts than a happy work place.

The best time to buy Starbucks was below $12.

P-LEASE!

HardOpinion I found it interesting that no mention of the fact that in the last year the company has dropped from their standing of #7 of the top 100 companies to work for down to #27 and the new list will be out soon.
Posted by: Number crunchers, UGH

Yea Field Partner you know your stuff, the 100 list is full of BS and companies usually "throw" money towards that company to get on the list, means nothing and thats a fact.

Chum-Change`

I remember when the stock was $7 and change CRAZY

Jim Romenesko

You should have bought then.

HardOpinion

@Number crunchers, UGH

The Forbes list you refer to has been commented on in the past and @P-LEASE! is absolutely correct - the list has nothing to do with what stock analysts look for. The Best Places to Work is list designed to give corporations good PR, help attract employment applications and entice those businesses mentioned to place more ads with Forbes magazine and associated publications.

Close examination of the Forbes list criteria shows that the data is based on what the corporations themselves supply, there is NO input from actual "workers" as to whether they think the company is a "best place to work" environment. So, as @P-LEASE! so eloquently put it - "the list is full of BS!" and thus has no merit when it comes to stock appraisal.

@PA@P_LEASE

HARD-OPINION: YOU"RE A GENTLEMAN & A SCHOLAR KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK :)

Jingle Heimer Schmidt

About the store level downsizing and elimination of waste referred to in the article and what QASA means to me...I know venting is usually reserved for Fridays but I'll be gone traveling.

QASA is a tool used to legally fire managers that do not keep their store anal-retentively clean. Using it as a fallback to prevent wrongful termination lawsuits that many lawyers throw themselves at, especially when large corporations are involved, QASA audits have a few perameters they evaluate on and seems like a unnecessary threat. The two I'll focus on are the cleanliness and facilities evaluations.

The major evaluation that causes managers to shake in their boots is the store cleanliness factor. In my area, if the store receives less than a 90%, than the manager is worried about their future employment. On the other hand there is the FACILITIES evaluation that audits the condition of the store beyond the employees control. Managers could give a shit about that because essentially, it's "Na-my-yob". My store received above 95% regarding store cleanliness (the praise was hollow to our seasoned partners of course) and a staggering drop of less than 68% regarding facilities issues. My manager was very happy while I was rather dissappointed due to our list of facilities issues that have been reported on for more than a year and have never been taken care of. The manager is secure in their job and the shit doesn't have to roll downhill to sup's and then baristas...which is good; but we still have to work with broken equipment and poor detriments to the store that could make it function even better. It seems that if the problem is within the customer's site, smell, etc. than it's resolved within 24 hours while problems behind the counters and backrooms go unrecognized.

Downsize the facilities managers or their superiors. Hire local contractors rather than those that are an hour+ away and begin charging at the beginning of their commute. That would support the local community like the old mission statement had touted. Fix things already! If I attempted to fix the problem areas in my store and got injured in the process...I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't get worker's comp. due to the fact that I didn't follow protocal by contacting facilities. Our facilities manager flaked out on our store tour and I had a laundry list of issues that date back from more than six months earlier. That meeting was to take place about six months ago...I was very eager to meet them and try to get some explanation. Those issues (with the exception of 1 because it became visual to the customer) still exist.

So that's why I believe QASA is bullshit and part of the downsizing and cutbacks at the store level that are never explained in such detail in papers and financial websites. Again, I (like thousands of other workerbees) am left in the dark and believe this after much scrutiny.
Rebuttle anyone? Help me make some sense of this.

QASA is buls**t

I agree...QASA is bullshit. We got docked for scratched tabletops...SCRATCHED TABLETOPS!!! I could see if it was a milk temp issue, or vermin, or a filthy store, but something we cannot replace or control??/ It doesn't seem fair.

QASA is buls**t

Not to mention that the air conditioning in our store doesn't work properly, and on hot and humid New England summer days the store feels like a sweatshop. We have called facilities over and over; someone comes out changes the filters and calls it fixed. Meanwhile its 80+ degrees in the store and even customers are complaining about the comfort level in the store. I understand saving energy, but how can we be a third place when its cooler outside in the heat and humidity?

Ding Dongs and Sumatra

Lot's of us have bean stock grants at 8.62 from last year woo-hoo bitches!

Barista Ben

Time to buy was when it was near $10. Thats when I bought, at least, seems to be paying off pretty well. This is a rally and odds are it is gonna drop at some point. Granted I don't see SBUX going back to $10 but $16ish? Probably.

'course the market is more temperamental than our customers sooo..

Thought of the Day

I will mention that this share price is still a far cry from the $39 & change around May 2006. The real question should be: Will it ever reach that again? Can you imagine if you bought around 2006. You would have still lost half your money if you would have sold your stock today.
I guess that's the name of the game!

just saying. . .

I'm a loyal partner. We score in the high 90's for the Health Dept but i doubt we pass qasa.
The daily, weekly, and monthly tasks are a joke. Most haven't been completed in months. Corporate must know stores can't complete these tasks. If they actually believe the RD's, they are fools. If the RD's believe it, they are the fools. If the DM's believe it, they are the fools.
People don't want to hear reality. That would make you inefficient.
So, Corporate: Yes, we are getting everything done with no time to do it. Really.
(Little fairies show up and work for free in the middle of the night.)

BusyBean

Regarding QASA: what I never understood is why we must fear this so much, or why the company set it up as such a high standard of a manager's job performance. My store was audited by the county health inspector months before QASA did, and we passed. It is my understanding that only the county health inspector can shut down an unsanitary store. QASA is just some company we hired to set us up for a successful county inspection, no? We wasted so much time in labor to satisfy QASA, when the only truly meaningful county inspection had already been satisfactorily passed. It's just nuts how stupid corporate thinking is.

QASA is lame

our store's health inspector gave us 100%
our store's QASA inspector gave us 82%

Sneaky

I am sure this will be a most unpopular opinion, but I think QASA is critcal.

Here is an example:

County Health Inspector gives 98% to a store on a Friday. The following Monday the QASA inspector shows up.

FAIL! Maggots - actual MAGGOTS - infesting the rubber door seal of the Sure Shot machine.

Then

Fruit fly corpses actually floating in the syrup bottles.

Then

Rat droppings under the metro shelves in the backroom.

UGH - I had been drinking beverages at that store for months.

So, Manager - fired. ASM - fired. Shifts - fully re-trained.

I have no faith in the Health Inspection system and think QASA expectations set the stores up for a truly clean and illness free environment.

Yeah, it's ridiculously hard to find the time. But this is a FOOD business. Do you really want to be on the shift when a customer actually does get sick from something your partners made?

nnerdly

Starbucks hired QASA shortly after the New York City department of health started shutting down our stores. This was happening while all the managers were attending a Leadership Conference.

Clearly, this was a huge embarassment to the company. Shortly after, we had QASA to deal with. I agree with Sneaky that QASA is really important, but as a manager, I've been made to feel like it's the only thing that matters.

My store still hasn't got our audit and I'm am shaking in my boots. I'm pretty sure if we get less than a 90% I'll be on a corrective action plan.

Also shit does roll down-hill. My partners frustrated and freaked out too. We get phone calls saying QASA was just at some nearby store. Everybody freaks out changes sanitizer, dumps milk, runs around with a rag, and then the auditor doesn't come.

My DM shows up at 8:20 am and starts looking for expired syrup bottles and wants to talk to me about dust on a light bulb 20 feet up.

I long for the days where all I had to do was make sure you had happy partners, happy customers, and were profitable.

anon

QASA is not a company.

Hm?

I thought the company was EcoSure?

uncle buck

nnerdly - I feel your pain. Feel like every week I would get a few calls saying ecosure just audited a nearby store and my store would go through panic mood of making sure we got everything in place. I fear of missing a bottle or missing a day dot could cost me my job. It's ridiculous. I feel sbux has lost it's core values. I remember the days when I was a true believer of taking care of it people in return it will take care of the customers and it will take care of the business. Howard if u are reading this, i believe there's more bureacracy now than 19 months ago when u took back the company. Please help us out, i have such great respect for you. i am using one of my star skills if it still exist.

uncle buck

i think qasa stand for QUALITY ASSURANCE SELF ASSESSMENT.

nnerdly

You guys are right, the company is Ecosure, and the audit they do is called QUASA?

DownandoutintheD

I too feel like the company has changed for the worse which is why it's not as profitable as before. The focus is purely on profit now. Granted thats why any business exists..to make money. However when I started here 7 or so years ago it was a fun place to work. Hard, intense and crazy sometimes but fun. Now literally everyday all we do is get more and more tasks to complete with less hours to complete them. They keep cutting hours yet give us more crap to push on customers that dont have the money to spend on $14 bags of "carumbia mocha booblah blend" . Not to mention goals like 190 pastries a day when the stuff is frozen,thawed and sits in a case for 2 days getting hard.

Unhappy, stressed out partners mean low morale and low sales. They can't seem to get that through thier heads!

sararainmaker

I have to say all this ranting about QASA makes me a sad partner... personally I am VERY proud to be part of a company that requires MORE than just the status quo from it's employees, especially in the cleanliness department since we deal with food. I work in a very tightly run drive-through and we are the busiest store in the district, we are ALSO the cleanest store and the store with the highest customer voice in the district. All my partners are happy, the shifts and even the manager is happy to be there.

It is VERY possible to still have the great environment that we all love as employees and as customers and still receive a high QASA score from ecosure... we got audited today and received a 97.6% during our evening rush. Perhaps as partners, shifts and managers you should all get together and re-evaluate how your own store is being run and see if you all cannot think of a way to better the store and your environment in that store to make it a better place all around.

Angry

We got audited today and got a 77.3... sigh... I am a new manager at my store (3 weeks, to be exact) and I wasn't there for the audit today. I find it VERY disturbing that I could get fired for something that, as a brand new manager, I did not have enough time to correct.

Leonlornath

omg... this is totally ture.. and lets talk about that wonderful VIA.... I mean, we are supposed to be the 3rd place for our customer but right now i feel starbucks is like bestbuy or even wrose - walmart. All they cared about right now is #
how many VIA we sold this week, how many promotional drink we sold today. I mean, its nice to encourage customer to try new thing but i feel sorry that we have to PUSH customer to buy things so our SM/DM wont come case our butt... I know some barista in our area got fired bc he does not suggestive selling the VIA. And that VIA luanch actually made customers hate us.. bc they dont feel like to walk into a coffee shop and have to deal with "car" sale man.
The even worse, i have to went through a fight with my shift bc he did something really wrong (it's really wonrg when u throw a cup of frap that had been consumed back to blinder and blinded it again) and my SM told me she had to support her shift.
I miss the starbucks around 2006 when i was hired and i have to say, if we keep this path, starbucks will become a shitty company and beyound repair very soon.

Leonlornath

here is reply to DownandoutintheD. I am really happy for you that you get a great SM doing his/her job. My old SM was wodnerful, too. My new one.... sigh, she is the ONLY SM in our area that didnt show up in 2009 X'mas setup and pushed the responsibility to a barstia for a shitty setup when our DM yelled at her.

mdiggy

I think many of my partners think we can accomplish all of the work corporate ask of us. It is a romantic idea, but unrealistic as many of you stated. We don't have enough employees, they don't pay us enough for the work we do, many fear QASA audits, we must make sure that our store is EcoSure, etc. This is ridiculous. The health care package, tips and pay is not worth the stress. Pay us the 12.00 per hour we deserve, provide more employees and then we can maintain the preposterous amount of standards that corporate sets.

I will not be mad at my supervisors for their role and trying to get as much done as possible. They are trying to do their best. Corporate on the other hand...

worried

Hi to all of you.I work in Starbucks in Bulgaria.From this month we will have also QASA audits every month ... but my manager doesnt seem to be worried at all..and believe me our store is very dirty!!!What will happen after our QASA audit that is this Friday with us (the partners).. ??? :( I dont want to lose my job because of a store managers poor performence?My position is SSV btw ... i read the posts above and i saw that the shifts were "fully re-trained" ??

buttercup

I Love QASA Audits because they keep us on our toes. i hate that they mark us down for scratched and broken items. I hate that we must force our customers to buy a product, they should buy it because it's an amazing product, not because we beg them to buy it. it's true that starbucks has become the third place for most of our customers, they walk in, we greet them, we offer them something, when they turn it down we offer them an over priced bag of coffee and a dry pastry!so place #1 home with most likely a nagging spouse. place #2 work with a nagging boss. and place #3 you got it, starbucks with a nagging barista! remember when baristas were happy? now we are worried about saying yes at the wrong time or saying no to a customer.. when we should have said yes! even though our books say something different. Dear Howie, make all holidays optional! you'll have happier baristas serving your customers. when a barista wants to be with family but instead is getting splashed on by frappuccinos, you'll have grumpy baristas and grumpy customers! bring back weekly coffee! not just morning pick. customers hate pike place and hate waiting for pour overs...

Staci

Got marked down 3 points because one letter on the chocolate shaker was ripped off.

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