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April 30, 2010

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javagirl666

Not at all.. we will continue to be measured on our performance reviews regardless of where they carry it or if its on sale at Target.

Barista Ben

Yeah if anything it just makes our job harder as were required to compete with ourselves and it's worse when we have to compete with places like Costco where you can purchase it cheaper.

Darth Sidamo

I agree. Makes it harder. Why buy a grocery item at a coffee shop when you can get it cheaper at the grocery store? I think selling this in groceries makes our high goals that much harder to hit.

Pattaya Girls

"Via" is a terrible name, I bet they spent thousands coming up with it.

livin' la VIA loca

I'll say it again...if Sbux believes so strongly in VIA as they do whole beans:

Offer 1 free tall drink of choice w/purchase of 12-pk of VIA as Reward Card Member benefit (12-pk of VIA is same price as many of Sbux whole beans)

This would help drive VIA sales in company stores- and give us a new benefit to promote with customers!

Also looks like we'll be competing right back with the grocery stores now too- new summer merchandise set launching Tuesday features GROUND coffee available in Sbux stores- regular (not decaf) House, Verona & French.

Blind Taste

If they believed so strongly youd do a blind taste test Italian Roast Vs Via instead of vs Pike Place.

aaa

actually via is named after the man who invented it. don valencia. he was also the genius behind frappuccino. not to hard to come up with a name.

Marcus

Out of curiosity I tried a new frappuccino today. I had only had one or two frappuccinos before that in my life and can't really remember how they tasted--it was many years ago.

I got a grande decaf (only because I only ever get one shot in my iced latte, but they didn't know what the caffeine equivalency of a frap was to that) coffee frap.

It was decent. It had a nice strong coffee flavor , but I would say it was far too liquidy, not nearly icy and thick enough, and it was far too sweet. I expected it to be much thicker--more like a vivanno. It was more like a liquid that had crystallized ice in it rather than a thick, slushy consistency.

If I ever order one again I'll ask for half of the sweetener.

It makes me wonder again about something I've asked about before, which is why you couldn't just have the contents of an iced latte or iced mocha blended into a drink? I've asked about it and been assured by baristas it would be a disaster and "too icy." But I like icy!

But after today's frap, I wonder how different it would really be to just get a latte blended or a mocha blended? Because the base they use certainly didn't make the drink I had particularly thick. To me it had the consistency of what I imagine just blending an iced latte would have. I would much prefer a blended latte or mocha in terms of the sweetness level and also in terms of not having all those extra ingredients from the base, and also that it would use espresso rather than the frappuccino roast base.

Maybe I'll throw them for a loop and ask them to try making it for me some day. What do you all think?

Bryan Hong

I am a graduate student at UC Berkeley, currently working on an academic research project on the restaurant industry. I'm looking for current and former Starbucks store managers and district managers who would be willing to be interviewed (anonymously) about their time at Starbucks. In return for complete interviews, a $20 gift certificate for Amazon.com will be provided. I can be reached at bryanh (at) berkeley.edu Thanks!

Anony-girl

The pressure to sell VIA in our stores has only tripled! It's a gestapo plot to force Store Managers to make their sales or their bonus is on the line. Starbucks Corporate hasn't done shit to make it easier for any of us.

VIA is moot now. VIA was a test to see if the stratagy of rolling out product in store only 1st would work. The key takeaway from this article is that we will now have to roll out new product after new product in the same fashion as VIA. I knew there was a reason VIA was so important. Now i know what it was.

Question

Question: when making the new fraps are we supposed to use the same cup that we started with?? Do you reuse the same cup or throw out the first one and use a fresh one?

I've heard conflicting stories of both and am confused??

Herman M.

VIA should have been launched in groceries, not stores. Granted, the pressure to meet unrealistic store level goals even at the cost of regular recurring sales created a nice set of numbers for the big beans to use in selling it to grocery chains, but I still maintain it (and pre ground coffee) should not be part of the in store experience.

Stop the BS

Anony Girl - That simply isn't true, so please stop spreading lies on this site. I am a SM and haven't heard of ANY store manager not making bonus because of VIA. Nor have I heard of any SM being fired. I know this site is known for slanted and negative views, but lets not flat out lie to make a post.

Coffee Soldier

How about the frappuccino incentive? I think it's a nice way to reward partners...I'm very surprised the compnay is willign to shell out the first layer of the incentive with only 90& to goal met. I'm not feeling at all stressed for this one like we did with Via....although Via is not gone...in my area we are performing the taste challenge this weekend. Even got alloted 4 hours per a day extra labor for a partner to sit at a table and perform the challenge to customers druing the peak periods for Fri, Sat, and Sun.

just another partner

@stop the BS: not sure if you looked at your last review as a store manager, but via numbers ARE on there... so it's not total bs!!

SeattleViaColorado

@marcus. Let it be known we'll always been willing to blend an iced latte or mocha for you. The reason we avoid it is the inconsistency of it. If the barista just dumps a traditional made iced latte in the pitcher and blends, it will come out airy, watery, and twice as dense; so lots of leftovers which means your drinking mostly air which is no fun. If the barista tries to compensate by adding more ice and/or less liquid it would turn out to be a chunky mix full of unblended ice bits and have to be consumed with a spoon. Now you know. And knowledge is power!

Darth Sidamo

We have a lady get a blended iced skinny vanilla and it does not pour at all so we actually have to turn the pitcher upside down and i just plops into the cup. It is very undrinkable and the taste leaves a bit to be desired. The baristas would make it for you but America has a fascination with everything having to be blended. Blended is not always better. Just like Kenya.

Q

"actually via is named after the man who invented it. don valencia."

If it were named after Don Valencia, it would be called Valencia. Via is a word in an of it self. "Via" for "Valencia" is a lame homage to its inventor.

Christinschu

I always thought the VIA being named after Valencia was just some lame after the fact forced tribute. I really think they should have just focused on 'VIA's real meaning 'the road' or 'the way' or 'traveling'. Which is more obviously why they named it that and would have correlated better the the products purpose.

And yeah, the iced drinks in the blender thing drives me crazy. It doesn't blend because there is no emulsifier in the latte. It tuns into an awful, horribly colored and flavored slushy. Thing about how disgusting your latte would be if you let ALL the ice melt and then you drank it. If you blend the ice in, you are doing essentially the same thing.

Frappuccinos on the other hand have a more concentrated flavor base as well as emulsifiers for it to blend smoothly.

Christinschu

@just another partner: actually, SM reviews vary by area to area, based on the areas focuses. THey are are roughly the same, but I discovered this when I moved between 3 different areas in the course of 1 fiscal year. My current area does not have VIA specifically on the performance review. And apparently others do not either.

barista again

Stop the BS : I know first hand that in the mid-atlantic hitting via goals is directly tied into the sm review. There was also a letter circulated written by a special via team of managers and dm's that basically ended with the statement that if baristas won't sell via they should be fired.

Doppio Con Karma

Marcus,
While you can ask for a iced drink to be dropped in a blender. (we have a semi-regular who does that as a "summer drink") It comes out horribly, gets tremendously fluffed with a huge amount left behind in the blender pitcher.
As for asking for the sweetener to be halved, thats really a thickener first, and a sweetener second. so if you think your drink was too thin, it will only be moreso with less of the base added.

I think a lot of these negative comments surrounding the new frappucinos stem mainly from inconsistent or flat out wrong beverage building by the baristas (alliteration!)
It's a pretty good product that doesn't rely on the contents of a mystery box thats shelf stable milk, follow the recipe!

miguel

Via sucks balls

happilymovedon

Did anyone see Bill Moyer's last show? He sums up our plight very nicely, the return of "plutocracy" Check out the whole show, very motivating. We need to band together and stand up! Here is a small excerpt from a Citigroup article to their invenstors titled, "Revisiting Plutonomy: The Rich Getting Richer."
"Asset booms, a rising profit share and favorable treatment by market-friendly governments have allowed the rich to prosper...[and] take an increasing share of income and wealth over the last 20 years..."
"...the top 10%, particularly the top 1% of the US-- the plutonomists in our parlance-- have benefited disproportionately from the recent productivity surge in the US...[and] from globalization and the productivity boom, at the relative expense of labor."

"...[and they] are likely to get even wealthier in the coming years. [Because] the dynamics of plutonomy are still intact."

Howie is a prime example!

Stop the BS

I never said it wasn't on the review.. .it is one of 9 metrics on my review. That being said, no one is going to get fired over not meeting VIA. Sure that may be PART of the reason someone could get in trouble, but if a SM is doing their job and is meeting all (or almost all) of their metrics, and is missing via they will be fine.

baristamclane

I agree with Herman. Via is a good product, but it has no place in an actual coffee house. And I will forever resent whomever was responsible for setting those ridiculous Via targets (I resorted to buying a couple packets a week, just to avoid the threat of corrective action for not hitting my individual goals).

Ironically, I think I sold more Via when I wasn't trying to stuff it down a customers throat.

Melody

Right now on MyStarbucksIdea.com there is nothing on page 1 of the "popular ideas" area that isn't about the new Frappuccino. Even in the height of the Pike Place Roast drama, I don't remember it dominating the "popular ideas" quite so extremely. These numbers are phenomenal when you consider that it is harder to find MSI now than in 2008 when PPR was launched. Remember the incredible in-store MSI signage in 2008 ... gone now. Heck, I meet baristas these days who do not know what MSI is.

@ Q - It is a well-documented fact that the name "Via" is inspired by Don Valencia who created the micro-grind technology. It's been in newspaper articles, and mentioned all over. Starbucks felt that Via was a clever name because it's a word, and in honor of Mr. Valencia, who passed away too young, from cancer.

It's also well-known that within the Starbucks headquarters, Via (long before it was called Via)was sometimes called "JAWS" - "Just Add Water Stir". But it seems clear that giving the product a name that conjures up the image of a shark isn't the right imagery. LOL

V

I wish it meant the pressure was off, unfortunately it only means there will be more pressure to plead with our customers to buy it from us instead of places where they can obtain it at a cheaper cost as managers desperately attempt to meet sales goals that were unattainable even before they rolled it out to costco and now the rest of the supermarket chains. It is on our review, it will factor into how much of a raise you get, and it can affect whether or not you get your bonus- even if your store has killed its overall sales target and is comping like mad. Read the fine print on your manager incentives. Our store never achieves the daily sales goal for VIA and we are consistently one of the top 3 sellers of VIA in our district.
VIA sales pressure has been a demoralizing thorn in our side from day 1 and I hope feedback from the recent partner survey rectifies this, and if it is not addressed then the whole feedback survey will prove itself to be a corporate load of hogwash. Yes VIA is profitable and a great product for some people, and it is making money, but at what cost to the integrity of the company. I've seen so many desperate and unethical sales tactics for this stuff firsthand, all resulting from the ridiculous sales pressure that it makes me sick.

Question

Do you re-use the damn cup when making a the new version Frap's?? Hello does anyone know the answer. I've heared some stores use the same cup and some stores throw away the first cup after they pour into the blender. What is the correct procedure?? Anyone with knowledge...??

dottie

Yes you reuse the "damn" cups. No where in the literature does it say to use a new cup. Now RELAX.

?

@dottie thanks :)

slaw275

@V
Are you a store manager? I'm just wondering where your info is coming from.

usorthem3

@Melody Nice to read Ur comments as always, information and a laugh.

whateverdude

unfortunately part of a store manager's review is based on via sales. what happens if you are in a neighbor hood store where they ONLY want whole bean coffee? that is how it is at my store and my mgr. got fired 4 not meeting expectations.

notthatcomplicated

there's always more to the story than the gossip that is spread around...

JoBarista

Yes you "reuse" the damn cup. If you look at the step-by-step instructions you will see that it tells you to keep the cup close to the blender pitcher to reduce motion.

Everybody should just give the new build method a chance. We have all built up a groove and developed a sort of muscle memory in using the old method. I hate the new "Major Step/Key Point" training method because it is like being read to in a remedial class, at least as my DM requires it. Rote recitation is a poor substitute for real explanations.

But, honestly I find the new build to yield much better consistancy and an easier pour if done correctly. After making the "new totally custom frappucino" for a couple of days I got my cold bar groove back and can assure everyone it will be ok. The BUX is committed to these things so just build 'em.

Customer acceptance is also helped greatly with a positive presentation/connection. After the pressure of Via sales many of us can't help letting some of that stress color our presentation of the new frappucino. When we all relaxed a little in our very high volume frap store, and quit presenting them to the customers as being "different" and somehow vaguely inferior to the old frap (a laugh when you think about it) our return rate on drinks dropped about 75%.

Cafe Nervosa

Customers walk in with their empty grocery store coffee bags for their free tall coffee. Every time I point out that it's not a full pound and would be cheaper if they bought it from us, sometimes mention that with a registered Starbucks card they could get ANY tall beverage.

Go ahead. Try and guess if they become whole bean customers or not.

With VIA, it'll be the same thing.

And I do think that " " has it right on the nose. Think of it as a new form of viral marketing.

thegyre

Wake up and smell the....


Welcome to the real world!
The business is not just about the benefits that you receive as a partner, not just about the ambience that the business wants to achieve instore & not just about the connection that the business would like the partners to build up with the customers.

Oh thats right it is a BUSINESS!

Sales are a key driver for profitability.
New launches are about landing the product right, first time.
The only person that can deliver that is you.
Your coach is the SM, if the store does not deliver who is responsible?

If the store is your own business and you are not making a profit, what would be the outcome?
If the store is your own business and you were given a product that would give you additional sales other than the sales you get now, would you be 110% behind it?
If you had 2 stores and one store sold 3/4 of the new line, who would you be looking at closely?

Yes it probably is a new skill to most, however we are all in a Service Industry. Look at how new products are launched around you in retail... Theatre & Engagement & "In your Face-ism"
(That was not a typo for Fascism, before you all say it, but with a fanatical approach. Remember what would you do if it was your business.)

Yes I'm sitting at home, listening to PE New Whirl Oder, reading about the reaction to austerity measures in Greece & the rest of Europe & enjoying my Via (the ease of JAWS)


baroosta

@thegyre - "Yes I'm sitting at home, listening to PE New Whirl Oder, reading about the reaction to austerity measures in Greece & the rest of Europe & enjoying my Via (the ease of JAWS)"

Did anyone ask you where you were? I respect your OPINION, however, I feel like that last part was added to make yourself seem sophisticated and savvy about something. Let me guess, you purchased your VIA at Costco while shopping for boxed wine and cheese cubes to serve at an oh-so-awesome social gathering at your house where you discuss austerity measures and the decline of civilization.

Typical...

Anthony Esparza

No we will keep selling in store getting the message across.... .this is a delicious component to our core coffees and its important our customers know that! Not only does it help out store profits, which means for hours for our partners, I work in a Drive Thru and I meet a customer a day who doesn't know what Via! is. So till we know what Via! has reached the hands of the millions of people in the world our Cafes will continue to share, and try to sell! :D Keep it up!

Melody

@Anthony Esparza - Well I have to say I love your Via enthusiasm. It's a great product, and so unique that it's going to sell. At this point, I don't think it is a big deal that it is available in grocery stores. House Blend is available in grocery stores too...When there are more varieties of Via, it may be the case that the grocery store has just one or two and a Starbucks has more flavors. ??

---

Friday, I met up with Winter and interviewed him for my blog (link in name). It was such a strange encounter. Howard Schultz was in the same room with us for a few minutes. I'm still processing what an amazing coincidence that is.

sloppy joe

I prefer selling VIA in the stores as opposed to other product we carried in the past that we had to promote that had absolutely nothing to do with coffee. Thinking back to "Akeela and the Bee," of course the tuneless "Antigonie Rising" or every tear jerker novel we had during our foray into the entertainment industry.

usorthem3

Riddle. How many recalls does it take to figure out that @Starbucks needs 2 find a new Nut vendor? I say four is good.

dcstateofmind

My customers hate the new frapps. :-(

spence

Why can't they give us Keurig coffee to sell. We are losing customers to places which sell it. Instead, we get Via...

usorthem3

I think I figured out that if you add a scoop of protein it gives it the body that maybe the old frappuccino had. I don't know, worth a shot.

a non e-moose

Are people even making the fraps right? I don't understand these complaints about them being too liquidy or not thick enough. Everytime I do it they look/pour the exact same as the old ones did if you made THOSE right. The only difference is that they just don't melt instantly. There is something weird with how people are complaining about it.

Coffee Soldier

Starbucks is licensed with Tassimo rather then Keurig....seems like the Keurig is much more popular now they even have make your own pods to put into your own Keurig. I have a few customers that come in and buy our coffee to make their own Sbux in their Keurig at home.

Darth Sidamo

Customers can complain because in a perfect world every customer would get a drink without modifiers and to the exact recipe given. However extras and lights as well as different types of milk change this standard recipe and sometimes can change the consistency and obviously the taste. Steamed Soy is much different than whole as well as whole is much different than nonfat. Same goes for blended drinks.

Customers will complain because the taste is different. Even if different can be better that does not mean that people do not accept it without hesitation and maybe they will not accept it at all.

The new ones have no corn syrup and less artificials. This right here is a very good reason people like it less. Obviously if freshly ground coffee and unsweetened milk were their thing then they would have gotten something else. Making a potassium sorbate, xanthane gum calorie bomb is what they enjoy and in that case, natural (blending it without a base) is not always more enjoyable than the chemically and artifically sweetened beverage.

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