Starbucks Before COVID-19

Starbucks has developed dynamic and successful strategy that has created values to its stakeholders and shareholders. The company strategy stems in ‘Starbucks Experience’ (Grant, 2016). Starbucks serves the communities and strive to provide the best coffee and customer service to the member of the communities. The core of the strategy is in connecting with people; both the employees ‘partners’ and the customers. Each partner has been trained to know all the details about the coffee and empowered to connect to the customers who are visiting the Starbucks store to be treated differently (Michelli, 2007).

Starbucks Experience encourages the store partners to know their community and the people. Partners put every effort to respond to the community needs. Involvement in community activities, sponsorship and volunteering are part of knowing the customers and connecting to them. Michelli emphasises the partners involvement as the first principal of Starbucks winning strategy: “make it your own”. The company inspires the customers in legendary ways that is called ‘five ways of being: be welcoming, be genuine, be considerate, be knowledgeable, be involved’. To reinforce these concepts, Starbucks developed Green Apron Book.  “The book offers concrete ideas on how to personalise relationships with customers by giving to, connecting with and elevating interactions” (Michelli, 2007). The core concept of being an American espresso bar lies in providing superior coffee, great environment, and extraordinary service to the customers to start and continue their days.

Starbucks success stems in the company’s values, leadership, and performance.  The company has become a well-known brand serving to its customers in the US and other countries. The business model and its strategy ‘Starbucks Experience’ are working and generating results. The company went through rough times during the last economy turmoil, but it survived and got back to its rapid growth pattern once the leadership team realized they had to stuck to the core business and values. Starbucks success is sustainable and will remain sustainable if the company continues to be innovative in product development and customer service. When Howard prepared to become CEO for the second time he developed a Transformational Agenda encompassed seven goals (Schultz & Gordon, 2011):

  • Be the undisputed coffee authority
  • Engage and inspire our partners
  • Ignite the emotional attachment with our customers
  • Expand our global presence – while making each store the heart of the local neighborhood
  • Be a leader in ethical sourcing and environmental
  • Create innovative growth platforms worthy of our coffee
  • Deliver a sustainable economic model

The leadership team was successful to rebuild the company implementing tactics to reach these goals as confirmed by financial results after 2009 (Grant, 2016). The corporate social responsibility is in Starbucks DNA. It is a culture for the partners and leadership to be mindful of their environment and take responsible actions whenever is needed. Starbucks is recognized and respected brand worldwide. It is one of the ethical and enduring company. Its stock has been a good fit into any portfolios.

Starbucks Experience is a journey of ‘ordinary to extraordinary’ (Michelli, 2007). Howard’s passion about the coffee, retail business, partners, farmers, and customers is astonishing. Love, confidence, pain, hope, and courage were ingredients of his success. He built up an enduring company that his dad never got a chance to work for (Schultz & Gordon, 2011).  His leadership qualities fit into Level 5 leaders’ model (Collins, 2001) whom turn a good company to great company. The company commitment to social responsibilities is a role model to show how a business can act responsibly and endure profitability. Starbucks business model sustains balance between the stakeholders’ and shareholders’ interests. The important lessons for me are twofold:

  1. Starbucks leadership qualities and vision.
  2. Its sustainable strategy development and implementation to balance stakeholders and shareholders.

References

Collins, J. (2001). In Good To Great (pp. 17-41). New York.

Grant, R. A. (2016). In Contemporary Strategy Analysis. WILEY.

Michelli, J. A. (2007). The Starbucks Experience 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Schultz, H., & Gordon, J. (2011). In Onward How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul (p. 15). RODALE.

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