Thought of the Day - Cuppa Joe
A long time ago I learned the axiom that consistency is one of the keys to success. If you have a consistent product, it's much easier to succeed. Restaurants are a prime example of this. If you have a great experience one time and a poor one the next time you go, it's likely you won't go again. McDonalds is a prime example of a company built on consistency. So is Ruth's Chris.
My examples are at both ends of the 'Quality' spectrum but they depend on the same key element. You get a 'fair' quality to price product at both places, but it has to be a consistent experience. If you got a McDonalds quality experience at Ruth's Chris, even 1 time out of 5
Starbucks has been experiencing variable quality over the past years. They have removed some of it by going to super automated espresso machines but still the act of steaming milk and adding it properly is a skill, one that a lot of people don't have. So, Starbucks is going to retrain all of their people. Link
I think that's a good idea. However, I think it won't be enough. The physcial product is only part of the 'product' that Starbucks offers. The company was built on providing a European style 'cafe' environment which depends heavily on good employees.
People have to want to provide their customers with a good experience. When Starbucks was a smaller company their stores seemed full of people who wanted to help you. Now, there are stores like that, but there are also a lot of stores that are not like that. Many of them are in Grocery stores, airports, rest stops and other high visibility locations. I would say generall the the licensed locations (vs. company owned and operated) are the worse. However, that is no excuse because the Starbucks brand is supposed to represent something and as a customer I expect the same product everywhere I see the Starbucks brand (think McDonalds, you get the same burger at a franchise store or a company owned one).
They need to defend their brand. Have they expanded too much? Perhaps.