Are licensed stores ruining Starbucks brand?

1. Licensed stores ruin the Starbucks good name. These people wear the Starbucks logo and serve the Starbucks product and yet are not held to the same standard as corporate store partners. Customers don’t know the difference and even if told they don’t really care. They should get the same product and service regardless. Secondly, with the strip mall layout of todays suburban sprawl there is often a corporate Starbucks in the same shopping complex as a Kroger or Safeway and Target. You often end up with 4 Starbucks’ in one small area. Any barista who has ever had to train a transplant partner from one of these places has a harder time reeling in their big head and know it all attitude than if training a new partner from “ok, a latte is…..”. Get rid of ‘em, not only are you cannabalizing your corporate stores but these pretend stores don’t participate in many of Starbucks widely publicized promotions, they don’t offer the discounts corporate Starbucks offer, and it’s all just very confusing for the customer when they had no problem writing a check for a Starbucks gift card at a licensed store but they come into a corporate store and we have to say no then explain why. It’s embarrassing when customers bring their Mocha Frappaccino they got at safe way to me and say “ummm… I don’t think this is right could you remake it?” Of course, I can remake it for them but it’s embarrassing that a name like Starbucks and the reputation that was so hard to build is being decimated by these stores claiming to be Starbucks.

2. What’s up with the Skinny title? It’s widely known that Starbucks has sugar free syrup and non-fat milk. Just order a sugar free vanilla non-fat latte. What was wrong with the way it was ordered for years prior to the “skinny” idea. I can’t count the customers that have come in and sarcastically ordered a Grande fat mocha or a double tall sugar free hazelnut fat latte. I have to say that I agree with them. My favorite is a 5 foot tall barely 100 lbs lady who comes in and orders her tall heavy whipping cream caramel macchiato like this….”Good afternoon, Sweetie. I need my really really really fat CM today.”

3. Something that has always bothered me is that Starbucks doesn’t recycle their newspapers and milk jugs. It wouldn’t be that hard to organize since a lot of recycling centers will actually pick up the recycled items. Think about it: if the average store uses 35 gallons of milk a day x 6,793 corporate owned US located stores = 237,755 empty milk jugs per day x 364 days (assuming you closed for Christmas and it’s not a leap year) = 86,542,820 empty plastic milk jugs lying in a land field. Starbucks has amazing views on social responsibility and have by far surpassed any other company that I know of at implementing them. So here is a company that exceeds the publics expectations, a company model that is used by other companies on how to operate, a company that is known for it’s environmental awareness and I have to ask “Why not do something as simple as set up 1 trash can by the bar to recycle milk jugs?”

4. To the partners: When a customer orders a complicated drink just make it. Who cares that its a 1/3 caffeinated triple 1/2 pump 2/3 packet splenda with whip whatever. I only know a hand full of partners that don’t have complicated drinks. Most spend so much time behind the bar that they are able to FREELY experiment with recipes and find the perfect mixture of ingredients. The people ordering have probably paid for and altered each drink they’ve gotten until they finally figured out what makes it perfect for them. I get so sick of partners trying to make the customers feel like an inconvenience; just make it for them. If a customer wants to say small, medium, or large they can. They pay for it they can call it what they want. Chances are when you repeat it (correctly) to the bar and the bar repeats it to you and then the bar calls the drink; the customer will learn the proper nomenclature eventually. Don’t be so rude as to correct them if it is evident what they want and if they didn’t ask how it is “we” say it. If you must correct the customer in a pointless display of your barista superiority try not to be condescending. I didn’t see this as much a few years ago but I notice it more today.