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September 29, 2009


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Is VIA the greatest coffee out there? No. Is it a good cup of coffee? I think so. I'm able to taste the difference between Pike and Via, but I've seen a lot of partners who couldn't.

I was in a store in my district at 2 p.m. today, and they had only sold 2 - 12 packs, and I spoke to my ASM around 3, and my store hadn't sold any. I think once people try samples, we'll see some sales.

I love VIA columbia with vanilla syrup and cold milk! (I have to try that with VIA whip!)


The work environment seems to be becoming more hostile toward SMs from above to meet sales goals and they have to, of course, do the same to their store teams. I've never heard the threats of "corrective actions" in the years I've worked for Starbucks as I have now. Even now the bar on QASA has been raised to 100% and if you make below a 95% the SM gets a corrective action and a phone call from the RDO. Woe to the stores that don't hit the 200% to goal on VIA sales in 5 weeks of the 7 week promotion. That was the bar that is set for us and I imagine daily calls to the stores from nervous DMs asking for sales numbers will be the norm for now on.


[quote]I don't think we should be selling it to REPLACE whole bean sales, but realize there is a demographic out there that will love this Via stuff. [/quote]

@CamSpi - Though that is exactly what Via does: It cannibalizes whole bean sales. At one of the investor conferences, Troy Alstead stated that in test markets there has been a "small cannibalization" of whole bean sales from Via. Now he never gave any numbers and seemed to emphasize the word "small". I sort of see it like this:

The world Starbucks whole bean buying customers seems to either shrinking or stagnant. If you were to add another whole bean coffee(Caffè CamSpi Blend! Via Ready Brew!) then there would be a small cannibalization of sales of other beans because there seems to be only so many people buying Starbucks whole bean coffee. Anyway, that's my theory on it.


@Shadow Barista,

If you’re so jazzed about the VIA launch, why are you also excited about exercising your 25% ($8.64) stock options on Nov. 17th? Do you believe in this company or not? If you really think VIA will bring huge profits to Starbucks why not keep all your stock options?

Personally I am excited for Nov. 17th too because I will exercise my options. I’m going to get my money while I can, and while it’s still there. VIA isn’t bad for instant coffee but it’s overpriced. It devalues the already struggling brand which could do more damage to the company than all the VIA sales could help. Not to mention all the damage the scare tactics management has initiated to pressure partners to sell it will do to our labor pool. How about the damage manipulative high pressure sales will do to our customer base? Did you notice how some of our regular customers looked when they saw how much longer they had to wait for their beverages while we all pushed VIA down everyone’s throat? In short VIA isn’t worth it.


The Siren didn't die, Uncle Howie is bending her over the counter and forcing VIA...
And saying, look no hands!


dear crema_the_crop what do you mean donating to the troops bean scam? It is not a scam. All the beans collected are sent to the troops overseas by mail and by military planes. Starbucks only collects these and others who are not starbucks employees deliver them. Don't make it sound like we are not really giving the military the beans you do yourself and all the baristas who sold the beans to customers in good faith a disservice.


I sold 4 three packs and three twelve packs yesterday in a four hour period. It was all in the evening. Our store sold 140 bucks worth. Our goal was 102$.
I only had one person that said that they didn't like it, but i don't think that person liked drip coffee because they bought a frapacino. The key is sampling. Today i want to double my sales.


Our store sold $92 yesterday and our goal was $100. Not terrible, I guess, but I can't really see us meeting our overall goal over the seven week period.

On a slightly different note, do any other stores have to dress up this weekend? I was informed yesterday that Friday we are supposed to wear white shirts and ties, Saturday is football jerseys, and Sunday we are supposed to wear something that represents where we drink Via.

Kind of silly, if you ask me, but I don't make the rules.


>>>>> Even now the bar on QASA has been raised to 100% and if you make below a 95% the SM gets a corrective action and a phone call from the RDO.

Remember that many people who read this site don't work at Starbucks and have NO IDEA what the hell QASA, SM, and RDO means. (Is that the sado-masochist who gets the corrective action?)


Crema the crop...there's no connection between Via and the core coffee. The coffee in Via may be shipped from Starbucks warehouses but the coffee is roasted and processed in a factory far, far away.

me myself and I

I keep wondering if Via is the reason we don't carry the Colombian as a core coffee anymore (as in not enough beans for whole bean coffee and via). It just doesn't make any sense for a serious coffee shop not to carry a Colombian coffee.

Sold my SBUX

The last time I saw corporate desperation like this was just before Directors were replaced, CEO’s were hauled off in handcuffs, and federal agents were called in to interview high level employees and stop the paper shredders. If everything’s going so well, why the excessive hard sell and terrorized partners?


we sold via well yesterday ( presale pickups), but today,even with sampling , it dropped off big time.

Super Fast.

Our goal at our store is $73 dollars a day. yesterday we sold 12 3 packs and today by the time I left at noon, we had sold 2 12 packs. It's not going too hot in my store and we are all kind of worried over this..


I had a horrible day today. The morning team yesterday did a phenomenal job selling VIA, but I just couldn't get people to buy it today. A lot of them said they already bought it yesterday; but my SM and DM don't seem to believe that. I feel defeated.

Seattle Slurp

We are being THREATENED into selling VIA.....and it's scary. Because we didn't make goal today, our Regional and District Manager will be in our store in the morning to see what's wrong. We've pushed VIA to every customer we see, and we're not making goal. I'm so frustrated and nervous about this launch, and it's become a hostile work environment, and we're being told it's okay to guilt customers into buying it, whatever it takes to make goal.



alls i want is my double tall nonfat semi dry cappuccino, not hard sold on VIA, do you hear us Howard?

a customer's perspective

would you like fries - I mean VIA - with that?


Posted by SSJohn:

'How about the damage manipulative high pressure sales will do to our customer base? Did you notice how some of our regular customers looked when they saw how much longer they had to wait for their beverages while we all pushed VIA down everyone’s throat? In short VIA isn’t worth it.'

As a regular Starbucks customer, this SO resonates with me. As I walked into 'my store' today for the usual cup 'o'joe, I was immediately jumped on by the first barista who saw me with the following:

Barista: Hey Vincent, have you tried Via yet?
Me: Yes. I have some.
Barista: If you buy a 12 pack, I'll give you your drink for free the next 2 days.
Me: No thank you.
Barista: (Facial expression of utter dissapointment, turns his back on me).
Me: (Proceed to order my usual drink with the register barista).

Understand, this exchange happened right as I walked into the door. No greeting from the barista (you know, hi how are you today etc)..I was just jumped on to buy Via. Now I work in sales so I understand the concept. I also understand the 'high sales pressure enviornment' some companies create to 'push' products and services onto the consumer...HOWEVER, in the big picture, this pressured approach to push Via to a SBUX regular like me, who does not fit the Via profile (they know I'm a bold drip brewed coffee drinker)... will eventually drive me away from the store. Does SBUX want to lose a daily regular customer who tips well? Didn't think so.

There is a way to sell Via in a high pressure atmosphere without making the regular feel bad about declining to buy it. Learn this lesson quickly. My SBUX 'experience' left a bad taste in my mouth today.

Schmidt, Jingle Heimer

To: crema_the_crop
Kudos on the comment in opposition to "coffee for the troops". I was voicing my opinion about exploiting the troops in order to highten bean sales. Partners gave me shit because they drink the kool-aid and would rather not think about the principle of the matter. Compassion was less than 10% of the idea. The ulterior motive was obvious profiteering. The beans we sold set in our back room for 4 months after the whole bean push before it was taken down to Camp Pendleton. An Iraq vet that works with us began to get pissed off as time kept dragging on and the coffee just sat there. All I could tell him was "I told you so".


If I wanted to be a sales person, I would look for a job in sales. If I wanted to have a job with sales goals, I would work for a company that gives a commission. When I started working for Starbucks, I thought I was working for a coffee shop where I would make coffee and other beverages and occasionally encourage customers to purchase our products for home coffee beverage consumption. If I had known that I would have to have sales knowledge, as in how to promote products and persuade customers to buy said products without alienating them, I would not have chosen Starbucks as my place of employment. Yes, the benefits are wonderful and I really do enjoy my job most of the time. I enjoy talking with regular customers, and I enjoy helping new customers figure out what they want and seeing them enjoy the drink I recommended. I don't enjoy feeling pressured to sell one specific product to every single customer, especially when I barely have enough time to connect with customers in between brewing coffee every eight minutes (because we mostly only ever have two partners working at a time).
Just call me Negative Nancy.

No I don't want any VIA!


High pressure sales only work when selling high priced, limited return clients or customers (cars, houses, trips, etc.). When you deal with a daily returning customer base high pressure sales are a business killer. Starbucks will probably need to learn this.


Our store sold over 500 dollars on launch day. Today before I left, I checked the numbers and were nowhere that number. Honestly, the taste of VIA isn't bad, but it's not phenomenal. It's an innovative product for sure, but I just believe it's being incredibly hyped.


@ No I don't want any VIA! -

You are absolutely correct. And they need to learn this sooner rather than later. Seriously.

Shadow Barista


If you reread my post, I say I was tempted period. I am more than likely hold the options or convert them to stock and placed the shares in my account.

I do have faith in the company. I intend to stay here for now. I personally think VIA is a next big thing. It kind of remind of Frappucino days and how it drove more business to us.



ATTN Starbuck's Marketing Morons:

PLEASE, no more high pressure VIA sales pitches. It's annoying. It's over-packaged. It is completely out of line with the Starbuck's vibe, and, frankly, VIA isn't all that great. I can make a MUCH better cup of coffee in only a few minutes more than it takes to heat water.

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