Starbucks is a well-known coffee seller in the United States with a strong brand in customer experience. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz set out to deliver one of the best customer experience while serving his originally brewed and served coffee within one roof. The well-trained baristas provided the coffee fresh from the machines with the sweet aroma of roast. This freshness attracted customers from all over the city of Seattle to the Starbucks coffee house where the coffee was backed by good music and a particularly enthusiastic ambiance of good customer relations.
The strengths of the Starbucks brand lies in their unique, valuable, rare and intangible customer service. This service entailed serving the customer with music and fresh coffee while they are seated in comfortable sofas. The customers could also enjoy wine and food while accompanying the coffee. The quality of coffee that was served in the Starbucks cafes was also of high quality as the beans were roasted every time the customer required coffee. From the quality strength, Starbucks also offered its customers a variety of products starting with caffe misto all the way to cinnamon latte hence creating a third place between home and the workplace where the customers could visit at their own convenience (Garthwaite, Busse, Brown & Merkley, 2017).
The weaknesses of the Starbucks cafe was that between the years 2004 and 2008 where the CEO retired the company strayed from their core business of coffee delivery and began the selling of other products like books, music and ice cream in a bid to expand. This move led to the dilution of its brand as the best coffee seller and distributor in the market since the brewing of coffee was only done in the morning for a whole day's coffee. The coffee served at Starbucks lost its taste and freshness and the customer experience was therefore no longer the best. Although the strategy to brew the coffee once a day led to a tremendous reduction in the production cost, it underscored the quality of coffee which was the only aspect that delighted the customers from the Starbucks cafe.
The opportunities that were set out by the CEO once he was reinstated was that Starbucks employees relearn how to create the unique Starbucks experience that used to be sold in the coffee brewed at Starbucks to bring back the culture. Also, the opportunity to make a difference was to divide the manpower possessed by the baristas to enable them to make only one type of coffee and make it their specialty rather than making different kinds of pathetic coffee. This would attract many customers as the coffee would be made smooth and fast from only the specialist's hand. The company also set out to provide convenient products in their drive-through stores at convenient times which would attract more customers. For example, the customers would get to enjoy fresh vegetables, pizza, and cheese during the evening times as well as bread and confectionary in the morning that goes hand in hand with the coffee. At around 4 pm, the cafe could offer beers and at times wine to capture the non-coffee drinkers (Mason, Cole & Goza, 2017).
Threats to the great brand of coffee Starbucks was the food giant McDonald's where Starbucks failed a blind taste test against McDonald's and the run of the mill supermarket. This was a low to the brand as the loyal customers felt that even a supermarket could offer better coffee than Starbucks. The brand was also nicknamed 'charbucks' due to the poor and bitter taste that was acquired from the cost reduction procedure of brewing the coffee once a day. Also, from the global financial crisis that happened in 2009, Starbucks coffee was among the first commodities to be labeled as a luxury since none of the customers considered buying bad coffee at $4 a cup. This threatened the survival of Starbucks in the market.
In order for Starbucks to regain its once lost customer experience, it had to undergo some changes that were faced with various challenges. First, it was a little bit hard for the company to diversify on the products while keeping the coffee brand strong. The company could easily sway out of its coffee brand once it started delivering other kinds of products since most of the labor could be diverted to the other stress. Also, the company faced a challenge in the discovery of new levels of luxury offerings that would cater to higher customers within the existing customer base (Gilmore, 2017).
Another challenge that was experienced was the adoption of new technology that could be used in the marketing of the company that was not conversant with the staff. This form of marketing that involves the use of social media and mobile applications in the ordering and delivery of goods led to the retrenching as well as employment of both competent and incompetent employees. The major challenge is identified as the first one where the company finds trouble in diversifying its products while keeping the brand strong (Snell, Lemley, Snell & Yemen, 2017).
In order to improve the company's performance, the normal day to day operations that mainly occur in the company that has customers who are more than 50 people during the peak hours could be restructured in the form of a conveyor system. During this time the coffee could be brewed from one point, the additives added from the next stage, then the packaging and the additives in the last end depending on the customer specifications. This could help offload the specialization strategy from the different personnel and a standard quality for the operation could be developed especially during morning hours when the demand for coffee is at its peak.
The impact brought about by this changes in the operations will result in a faster and step-wise production in the quality of the coffee. Also, if there is any problem with the taste of the coffee it will be more effective to identify where the problem of the coffee is from within the operations. The negative impacts of the implementation of the strategic idea are that the company will be required to hire more employees which will be an increase in the productions costs. Also, the company will have to change the structure and plan of their kitchens in order to accommodate the changes in the operations which may be costly to implement.
For the successful implementation of the change in the operations idea, it would be effective if the strategic idea is done with only one of the stores in order to acquire the effectiveness before it could be implemented to the franchisees. Also, the company could train all its staff in the art of making the coffee in the conveyor stage system of mass production such that during the peak periods some portion of the employees could assist in the making of the coffee in order to rotate the labor hence improving on the cost of production.
Snell, S. A., Lemley, A., Snell, S. A., & Yemen, G. (2017). Starbucks: Schultz Back in the Brew. Darden Business Publishing Cases, 1-18.
Gilmore, J. (2017). Observational skills: eye-openers for innovation. Strategy & Leadership, 45(1), 20-26.
Garthwaite, C., Busse, M., Brown, J., & Merkley, G. (2017). Starbucks: A story of growth. Kellogg School of Management Cases, 1-20.
Mason, A., Cole, T., & Goza, N. (2017). STARBUCKS: A CASE STUDY OF EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT IN THE COFFEE INDUSTRY. Journal of International Management Studies, 17(1).
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