The Starbucks story is a fascinating tale of an enormously successful business. What began as a single café on Seattle’s waterfront has sprouted into a company that now consists of over sixteen hundred stores globally with a new store opening every single business day. Just as remarkable as their growth, is the fact that Starbucks manages to maintain its renowned commitment and objective to sell excellent products, as well as support customer and employee satisfaction (Schultz & Yang, 1999).
In 1982, Starbucks’ current chairman and Chief Global Strategist, Howard Schultz left a respectable national sales managerial position with a European housewares company to join the small Seattle-based coffee roaster and retail store. The small organization came under Schultz’s radar because of the excessively large number of coffee makers they purchased from his company. During a sales visit, he became fascinated with the opportunities this venue presented. He envisioned what Starbucks could be, not what it was (Stallard, 2008).
The key to Starbucks’ success was building a social community based on trust and confidence around the romance of the European coffee experience. In doing so, Starbucks created a culture that strikes an emotional chord with customers by creating an ambiance reminiscent of the front porch experience. In addition, they strive to create an environment that promotes emotional ties between organization and employees that includes rewards and benefits like full time medical coverage even for part time employees. This strategy is aimed to make workers feel valued, which in turn builds their confidence, self-esteem and self-respect. There are employees however who have voiced grievances in the organization’s competitive environment. For example, some retail employees contend that there are middle managers (Operations, District and Store) that create work environments so demanding and unreasonable, it leaves retail staff workers in tears. Others contend middle managers are ruthless, profit-focused slave drivers from a driven focus to remain at a top position in the marketplace.
Regardless of the few employees who have voiced negative experiences, Starbucks remains a reputable company that leads with its heart and nurtures the soul while continuing to enjoy large volumes of profit. The franchise has been able to provide long term value to shareholders without sacrificing their core beliefs in treating both customers and employees with respect and dignity. This is what team leaders believe are components that translate to good business. Schultz’s vision to create a world that is better from the drabness of everyday life, helped guide him to give genesis to the neighborhood oasis where an individual can take a break, listen to some music and ponder important questions in life over a nice cup of designer coffee. (Schultz & Yang, 1999).
Schultz, H., & Yang, D. (1999). Pour your heart into it: How Starbucks built a company one cup at a time (1st ed.). New York, NY: Hyperion.
Stallard, M. L. (2008, February 15). Starbucks: the story untold. Retrieved March 04, 2013, from The Economic Times: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2008-02-15/news/27704610_1_howard-schultz-starbucks-retailer