Starbuck’s is ripe for a competitive disruption

Starbuck’s.  Just the name leads a lot of consumers to think of latte’s or rich coffee, but in this author’s opinion Staruck’s is a great target for competitors right now.

Starbuck’s has the same marketing strategy as McDonald’s when it comes to stores: one on every corner, but the more stores you have the harder it is to maintain quality control.  All you need to do is to go to any Starbuck’s kiosk in an airport or Target to get a dose of a really bad brand experience.

I’ve had some money remaining on my Starbuck’s card so I decided to try and use it at several stores only to be told “we’re out of this” or get frustrated because the person behind the counter was slow and inefficient.

On top of this Starbuck’s recently made the really bad decision to cease all online sales, which pissed off a lot of customers. Why they would do this is beyond me as most stores do not carry a full assortment of ALL Starbuck blends.

To really understand what I’m talking about just go to any street in New York and look at crowds at places like Stump Town Roasters compared to Starbuck stores which usually don’t have a lot of traffic.  Smaller coffee shops feel more like home serving coffee in ceramic cups and they have very comfortable surroundings.  Starbuck’s feels like a “generic” coffee shop.

On top of all this the single serve coffee market is being disrupted by some unique machines that are just now starting to hit the market.  These machines grind your coffee, brew it according to your strength and serve it when you want via an app on your phone.  Why Starbuck’s didn’t buy one of these startups is puzzling.

Starbuck’s sales are going to probably remain strong, but Wall Street looks for strategic growth. Starbuck’s can serve all the new drinks they want, but it won’t be enough to keep competitors at bay.

 

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