The recent Bryant Park and Pike Place appearances of Starbucks ceo Howard Schultz remind me of Proust trying to reconjure his madeleine.
So many of Schlutz’s actions are all so In Search of Lost Time. (For the hands-down best primer on all things nouveau Starbucks, see Starbucksgossip.com.)
The question is: is going back the right way to go forward? God knows I’d love a less-burnt brew. And I’m all in favor of the new Clovers, the old logo, and the free refill policy.
But if Schlutz really wants to get serious about moving Starbucks in the direction of the thing that originally made them famous—a new experience—then there is one thing the company can do that it isn’t:
Every time people swallow their caffeine, they also get a dollop of guilt for having to toss the cup. What waste. So, Starbucks, be the first coffee chain to offer corn-based, compostable, sustainable coffee cups. (The green bakery Birdbath, run by City Bakery, is already doing this). Then provide separate bins so people can toss the cups as well as their guilt. What you are currently offering—10% reycled paper cups—is a joke.
And another thing: Starbucks has no serious reusable cup program.
If you do buy one of Starbucks’ reusable cups, the company says it will give you a discount. But most of the baristas have no idea about the discount, nor do they know how to key it in. Also: the discount is lame. Amp it up.
Figure out a solution: a guilt-free coffee experience. And a serious reward program for people who use reusable cups.
That would be progress.
You are, after all, from Seattle.
How can you manage smarter? Bloomberg Businessweek contributors synthesize insights from the brightest business thinkers, critique the latest management trends, and comment on leaders in the news.