Thursday, April 23, 2009

Starbucks does a lot of things right

I had a bowl of "perfect" oatmeal at S'bux in Freemont yesterday, where the woman working the cash register brightened a gloomy Seattle morning with her bubbly personality. "Are you always this cheerful?" I had to ask. "Oh yeah," said her co-workers.

Later, I went to a Tom Douglas all-staff meeting, where Howard Schultz was the guest speaker. Tom D. has had a relationship with Starbucks since before Schultz arrived. He believes in supporting local businesses, even when that business has taken heat for getting sidetracked from its original coffee-centric mission.

One worthy detour Starbucks has made is the company's long-standing commitment to improving the lives of the people who grow the beans, even beyond "fair trade." A representative from Conservation International was there, too, talking about Starbucks' 11-year partnership with that organization. Along time before green became the new black. I was impressed.

Doesn't a company which makes a significant commitment to helping the planet and its inhabitants deserve our respect and our business?


Freakazoid Freddy said...

"Doesn't a company which makes a significant commitment to helping the planet and its inhabitants deserve our respect and our business?"

Yes, but there are far better places to go for coffee. SBUX tends to over roast their beans, where you taste the roast rather than the coffee.
But I'll happily go there for oatmeal.

Michael said...

While I agree with Ira my complaint about Starbucks isn't that they burn their beans, but that their baristas are so varied in their abilities and training. Some make great coffee and others are terrible and don't even recognize that they don't know what decent coffee is. Auto machines and poor baristas make for bad coffee. I don't need to pay $3 for bad coffee I can get it for a buck.

Ira, I'm glad to see your still conducting business.

r j c said...

I actually completely agree with you and think it's about time someone called out how incredible Startbucks is! Whether or not you prefer the taste of their coffee is irrelevent. They deserve an insane amount of credit for being of the most socially responsible companies in the world - and they're right here in our backyard to support. (Some might event say that Starbucks single-handedly saved Guatemala from economic ruin with it's "beyond Fair Trade" practices.)

It's so annoying that when something gets big it's suddenly discredited. It's only once you are successful that you have the scale of resources to make a difference in this world philanthropicaly. I give props to Starbucks for using their power wisely.