Thursday, March 20, 2008

I Hate Starbucks...

In the annual meeting today, Starbucks chief Howard Schultz vowed to "fight to the death" against Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, and other competitors for coffee-and-baked good supremacy.

Chief among his "great" ideas is the loyalty card. Starting in about a month, Starbucks will introduce a number of discounts for customers who use their Starbucks card to pay, and register it on the web site. (Excuse me while I run to my newest Starbucks to get in line) Free "customization" is one perk -- extra syrups and milk substitutions will be gratis - that's FREE for you non-Italian speakers. Another perk is free refills on brewed coffee (because I ALWAYS sit in Starbucks), and the possible expansion of the $1.00 coffee test. Schultz didn't mention whether or not the company would be offering free drinks upon the purchase of 10, or 15; of course, this "novel" loyalty concept is working with punch cards at just about every single coffee shop in the nation.

Along with Schultz' frightening war imagery was the very real specter of the looming recession. Schultz said the economy is in a "tailspin," his consumers, "in a recession." The way we're all responding to the "tough" times, evidently, is by refusing to pony up $3 or $4 for a beverage on such a regular basis. It hardly seems that a new coffee blend and an automated beverage machine will be the cure-all for your economic woes (maybe all the time you save waiting in line for the barista, you can spend looking for a new job?), but it's certain that changes are still needed. Investors aren't the least bit impressed; they sent the stock down another 74 cents, or 4.06%, to $17.50 today, only a touch off the 52-week low of $16.77. YES!!! TO THE FACE!!!

1 comment:

Arika said...

Starbucks also just got ordered to Pay over 100 million dollars in california as back wages for tips that shift supervisors were taking from the baristas.