Last weekend Solomon and I stopped at our neighborhood Starbucks before leaving Austin to spend a weekend in Dallas.
At Starbucks, I ordered a coffee and a bacon and egg English muffin. And because I have a lingering holiday sugar jones (that probably will require therapy to break,) I ordered one of those little vanilla scones thinly covered with a breakaway sugar glaze.
Everything was great. Except for the coffee.
After adding a splash of cream to my cup, I took a sip, expecting that signature Starbucks deep, robust, almost bracing liquid. Instead, I was greeted with a bitter, flat, lukewarm cup of Joe. So awful, I considered returning it for a fresh cup, but the length of the line made me reconsider. Yep, I kept the coffee but with every sip, I wished I’d simply wash my breakfast down with a bottle of water.
We all know Starbucks has expanded into a major emporium filled with food, gifts, and music. But you might think it's a stretch if I said the Starbuck’s growth strategy has made them lose sight of their core coffee business; especially if I’m basing it on one bad cup of coffee.
But what I would say is Starbucks is vastly different from just five years ago and possibly that difference has shifted their focus from producing a genuinely great cup of coffee to growing a brand.
What I know for sure is my recent Starbucks experience is just a reminder that regardless of our growth it's dangerous to lose sight of our core business.
Because many of your loyal customers are just like me. We’re still coming for the coffee.