« What were the "new unreleased drinks" being sampled at Starbucks HQ? | Main | How kosher in your Starbucks? »

April 09, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Here's an interesting link from Deadspin regarding the Sonics and Mr Schultz



I'm reading it now. It's excellent. While it's a book about management and leadership, this book talks more about the operations of Starbucks than Schultz's first book. By the way, this blog is mentioned a few times in the book. That's pretty cool.

Legendarily Lean

Does he talk about how Obamacare negatively impacts business after all?


I wonder if all of the books that were given to Partners were counted in the first week sales numbers.


@CD of course they were. 121,000+ partners counts a lot.
I have to tell a story told to me today from a regular customer, Ben. At the DFW airport location, this week he asked the barista what she thought of the Onward book that was on sale in the store. She said she didn't know what he was talking about. When asked if she knew who Howard Schultz was, she said that she had no idea who he was speaking about. As a Starbucks employee, I would think she would at least know who Schultz was.

We did have a customer Monday buy 24 books and about $150 in Via so at least from the store's contribution was good this week.

I did find that if you have worked for the company through the last fours years of this book, you know quite a bit of what it covers as well as the things that are not brought to the attention of the public. I did like the part at the SSC where the gentlemen tells him face to face that speaking of the layoffs, "We took part of the hit for you yesterday having those conversations, & I don't want to do that again. I need to know that you hear that."
People will often forget what you say, but they will never forget how you make them feel. Trust must be earned. Some folks take longer than others to trust again, but Howard it seems is still heading in the right direction so I guess Onward would be the best title.


She doesn't know who he is because she is not a Starbucks employee. Airport locations are licensed stores.

Account Deleted

Hello all, I hope you will join me in my petition...please check it out.



that barista was an airport employee, not a starbucks employee.


@Seadanes & @... As far as the consumer is concerned, she still represents Starbucks because they don't know any difference. At the same airport another barista cussed out a customer in front of another one of my regulars. Makes me wonder what other information she is lacking on SOP's of the company.


Partner copies likely don't count. 1, there's no dagger next to the book on the NYT list, and partner copies were likely considered a wholesale purchase. 2, the ISBN is different on the partner copy.

Upward Bean

Guys.....heres the math- seattle wrote a check to purchase all the books sold in stores then when one is sold your store is credited...week one of the book...us store count 11000....average 10-15 books per store-huge number sold from publisher to client....



I agree that it is not right at all. Unfortunately, since she is not employed by Starbucks the company SOP is probably of very little importance to her. What's worse is that Starbucks doesn't have a whole lot of control over the situation.


Just got a delicious Nonfat No Whip Mocha!


SBUX Alum Bill

My understanding of the NYT best seller list is that they capture the sales distribution to major book retailers & then they survey some of those retailers to estimate the number of books actually sold through to paying customers. I don't think the internal distribution within Starbucks was included in the totals. The sell-through at major retailers may have neen driven by the promotional efforts that usually accompany the release of new books, so the real test of a book's success is its longevity on the best-seller list. We'll know more in a few weeks.


I think it is funny that some of the people in my district didn't even want the book for free.


Sorry guys, unrelated question, maybe someone has an answer. Is there a time limit on when breakfast sandwiches are served? Are they like drip decaf where after a certain time I'm out of luck?
I ask because I visited a Starbucks yesterday early evening wanting to grab one and the barista said that their ovens were turned off, not offering a "sorry" or "we stop serving them at 3:00pm" or "can I get you something else".

What is the policy?

Time To GO!

Why would anyone want the book? In 2008-9, Howard failed partners so grossly that DMs were tracking our Subway routes here in New York City to know how long it would take us to get to work so we would have no excuse if we were late. All bets were off and our regional office resembled a bad Off Broadway show that was about to shut down. I've never seen such horrible performances by management. So, no Howard, I would not want to read your book about how you "saved the company."


Regarding the Seattle SuperSonics, it sounds like Schultz couldn't work his Starbucks magic while owning this franchise. I've been reading up on his ownership and it didn't go very well for him. He should write a book comparing his ownerships of both and why he's been so successful with Starbucks and why he failed as an NBA owner. It's got to be rough being hated by so many in his "hometown" although he seemed to take it pretty well in that clip.

Barista 2005-2008

Anyone know the difference between the retail copy of the book and the partner copy???


"Anyone know the difference between the retail copy of the book and the partner copy???"

The partner copy has the alternate ending where you learn that Howard was actually a replicant all along.

Sad Barista

I lived thru I, I have no need to read about it.


@Sarah, breakfast sandwiches are served all day, or until we run out. However, the ovens do have to be shut down prior to closing to allow the oven enough time to cool.


thanks Baristamclane. it was only 5:30 and didn't think they closed until 8 or 9. weird.


I heard a rumor that the www.savethebreakfastsandwich.com site was mentioned in the book. Can anyone confirm this? I'm the creator of the site - so if it's true I might just buy the book. :o)

Ben Genuine

Jenn, I believe it was.....about 3/4ths of the way through.


Jenn, yup it's mentioned briefly when he talks about how he was scrapping sandwiches and then says he saw the site and got a bunch of other feedback begging him to keep them. IIRC he then pontificates for a while about how awesome Starbucks is because that website was made.


I'm currently reading the book. I am an 8 year partner and I find it to be inspiring. All the things I thought he was not paying attention to, all the things I thought he had long stopped caring about were wrong. These things were always on his mind. The store growth in an exponential function and then a down turn in the economic times had created a need for triage not pampering. Recovery has begun and the brand has begun to evolve. It will get better once we have stabilized the brand. Also, revisit our mission statement. If it does not inspire you then your probably working for the wrong corportation. Check out other corporations mission statements and find one that works for you.


Schultz was also included on a list that CNN put out this week. 20 highest paid CEOs, look for Howie at 11. That seems...lean.



Following my purchase of a delonghi bean 2 cup coffee machine, I have been enjoying the starbucks decaf house blend freshly made on demand. I went, as usual, to buy my bag of coffee and to my shock was told that starbucks will not be selling this decaf blend anywhere in the UK ever again. They are only selling the decaf expresso which is too bitter for me. I luv my coffee, I am really upset. I have a real problem with caffeine and lie wide awake all night if I have it. Trouble is I can't find decaf beans anywhere else. Does anyone know where I can find a decaf medium blend bean?

Coffee Soldier

Suzanne...what about the Decaf Pike Place Roast?


I don't care why or how Howard ended up on the Best Seller List. It's free advertising.

Time To GO!

meme---you have been sucked into the Starbucks personality cult. Howard has you right where he wants you. Robotic.


@Waltie. LOL Loved that one.

@meme The mission statement changed after how many years and coffee(2nd highest traded commodity) was put above the partners who create the foundation of it all. Expectations never changed but 1/4 of labor was slashed forever. In my cafe store I'm embarrassed that the 200+ regular customers I know by name, wait because I cannot be more as the BR2, CB1, R2, Warming/shift than one person can be while doing 50 trans half hours. I know there are some that will say they can do 75 with two people for four hours but is that good customer service or just driving cattle?

I did today have a regular customer that was in & out with a tid bit for the day tell me that, "you are awesome", as I handed her the drink. "You make 100's of people happy each day when they see you are working." I do not take compliments well but thanked her and blushed a bit, that's a nice thing to hear every now and again. I would just like the tools to have that with every customer again but alas, labor must be cut.

LIED 2 Bean

Can you guys help me I want to give my notice am a SM and have 3 weeks vacation-do i lose it..or do they pay it out


lied 2 bean,

SM vacation is considered a grant, so you'll lose it. Barista and SS vacation is "earned" by hours worked, so they get a pay out.


I thought you all might like to see my perspective on Schultz' book, which I found illuminating, tedious, insufferable and difficult to read http://thestorystock.com/2011/04/onward-by-howard-schultz-a-book-review/

Coffee Soldier

LIED 2 ..since we are halfway through the year and say 3 weeks is all your vacation time for the year I believe you will get paid for 1.5 weeks since you have earned it already. Call the # inside your check the business ethics line it can be anonymous and ask the policy to be sure.


cafemama: That was quite a review. You sort of played devil's advocate in your review because you didn't acknowledge anything that HS did right. Is there any decision he made where the company was worse off than if he had done nothing? The politics got a little rough but it was necessary.

Without giving a review, the things I noticed were that Schultz seems like a corporate guy. When he talks about "partners", he's often referring to people who work in the corporate office and his interactions with them. There's not as much consideration given to the partners who work with the customers. The other thing I'm noticing is that Schultz's success is a product of his great idea. The idea has sustained him for 25 years. All his right management decisions have been a result of this great idea. In other words, if he became the CEO of McDonalds, he wouldn't have the same success. That's fine but it shows some of his management advice only works in the context of the Starbucks model.


Mike, I do agree that I'm quite negative in my review; I don't think that Schultz has never (nor even in the past few years) done anything right. Despite my own skepticism, the Via product seems to have found a market. Bringing breakfast sandwiches back was a good move. I liked the idea behind (if not the realization of) the oatmeal. I agree! stuffed animals don't belong in Starbucks and should be taken out. 40,000 stores was a ridiculous goal and should have never been set.

of course, most of the decisions he made were still reactive, hyperactive, and imitative. I'm at least as interested in how a CEO makes his (or her) decisions as what those decisions are. I hesitate to invest in companies whose CEOs sound like nightmares to work with; and as I've worked closely for Howard Schultz-like people (almost to a T) I am familiar enough to distrust this style as ultimately fruitful for a company of any size.

Yes, Howard Schultz' one good idea was very, very good -- huge, in fact. He's fantastically lucky (as will be his heirs) that he stuck to his guns. I love the original idea and the original "soul" of Starbucks. I doubt very much that the soul is still here, however; it's hard to maintain a soul when you're forcing quotas down the throats of your "partners" to sell whatever is your latest sure thing, and when you're more interested in promoting your own image as star of the show than your company's brand.

I'm both an analyst of corporate strategy and a literature gal. For fun I listen to analyst calls and read Dante and literary journals. This bugged me twice :)


Suzanne, did you consider a coffe subscription through Starbucks.com? You should be able to order Decaf House from there, the subscription allows you to set up a recurring delivery, so you will always have coffee beans.


cafemama: I wish I worked for someone like Howard Schultz. He would be heaven compared to some of the corporate puppets I've had to work for over the years. It would be great to work with people with vision who do more than spend 8 hours a day trying to justify their existence in a company.

I think the soul is still there but it's always in a struggle with the corporate machine. Just like he tries to balance making money with social conscience. In my town, Starbucks is still unique and has no competition as far as where people go to buy coffee and where people either go to relax or conduct meetings. That's part of the soul that still exists.


Help! I need guidance from my fellow partners on a few issues, I'll try to be brief.

We are not allowed 30 min breaks and no one seems to care.

My SM insists on just saying yes when a customer orders something we are out of (example: we are out of vanilla syrup and customer orders a vanilla latte, she insists we give SF vanilla without discussing or notifying customer and same goes the other way when we are out of SF we must just slip them the regular even when we know the customer is diabetic)

Customer voice is constantly saved and given to friends to complete.

My DM does not care so please don't suggest talking to it, but all other suggestions welcome.


@Marked - Horrible situation. The next step up from the DM is your RD. Do you know your RD? Do you know your RVP? I know that in my own area if I had some >real< concern, I could possibly email the RVP though I wouldn't lightly do that.

Another idea would be to contact Business Compliance:


(I'm not a partner but those are my suggestions.)

Good luck! I appreciate that you want to fix what's going on in your store. Starbucks needs people who will speak up when something is not consistent with the guiding principles of the company.

Hope that helps!



If you are in Mid America, you would have nothing to worry about if you go to Brett. He's a solid guy and would want to know about this.


Marked, you should contact the business conduct hotline if you are not comfortable contacting your district manager or regional director. It is confidential. I do believe you would be well within your right to contact your state labor board as well if you are not being premitted to take a 30 minute break.

Vanilla is a high volume sku, if you are running out that frequently, there is a huge problem.

Why the heck aren't your partners offering another syrup instead of slipping something that could send them to the ER? The next time you are out, tell the customer, "We are out of [syrup], would you like to try a different syrup instead?" Your manager can't force you to do violate standards, and there is no reason to fear corrective action for doing your job the right way. By caving, you and your fellow partners are enabling this behavior to continue.

 Red cup

You know more than most partners, get a life.


"My DM does not care so please don't suggest talking to it, but all other suggestions welcome."

I find this hard to believe. I suggest talking to your DM, since I doubt anybody actually has. Not allowing 30 minute breaks would mess up labor, which would piss off even the most mean-spirited DM.

SBUX Alum Bill

@ Cafémama:

I worked at the SSC during my tenure at Starbucks, and I think your review pretty much captures Howard's personal style & the impact that it has on the organization. He's a hypocrite with a Trenta-sized ego, and he surrounds himself with adoring sycophants.

I do think that the basic Starbucks concept, however, is very sound. The company will continue to succeed financially. The network of cafés in place right now represents an unmatched resource for rolling out new products and ideas. I can't think of a more unique distribution channel, or one that is better suited for its clientele. This is a company that will continue to prosper, as long as Howard doesn't overreach in his efforts to satisfy investors' insatiable appetite for continuous record-setting growth.

This is not the warm & fuzzy Starbucks of Howard Behar & Orin Smith. It is, however, a solid comapny that will probably continue to post good numbers well into the future.


However, if you truly refuse to talk to the DM, I would suggest finding a copy of the partner handbook (or just search on the portal for "meal breaks") and ask your manager something along the lines of, "It says here we are supposed to get an unpaid 30 minute break for every six hours we work. I'm confused as to why I never get one. Can you explain it to me again?"


Poor Red Cup is offended that someone knows a lot about a particular subject. Perhaps you should find yourself some nice hobbies instead of putting others down for theirs.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Search Site

Ads (2)