Saturday, January 26, 2008

Open letter to Mr.Howard Schultz

Dear Mr. Schultz,

I understand that you have received thousands of very good and sounding advice in the latest months.
But as your company is one the most loved around the world and in the blogosphere, I wish to write down few words about the perception and the future of Starbucks.

Last year Starbucks lost me as a customer.
Everytime I was in London or Paris, I always paid a visit to on of your place but this was not the case lately.
I felt the place was not charming anymore. Sometimes the place was too small, sometimes dirty, sometimes everything happened too quickly like in a factory: who's next? quick, quick!
Too many gadgets
I just wanted a coffee in a nice and clean place, confortable and quite, like at home but... ok, you know, you invented it.

Now, this experience is diluted by the fact that too many shops were opened and you can't retain the same quality across all of them.
And to serve more people the old fashioned coffee machines were replaced with heartless devices.

Why I should pay a premium price for such a disappointing feeling? But I miss the place.

That's why I feel in need to give you an advice.

Go and hire some top managers from luxury companies, someone who knows how to make you pay a premium and feel satisfied and happy. And make happy the shareholders, too.
Someone who works in LVMH or PPR. Someone who can work on the image and still open stores everywhere in the world. Someone able to make people lying up outside the store and still be confortable with that.

You can't compete with McDonalds', because your franchise is far better and of higher profile. Can you imagine Louis Vuitton competing with Gap or H&M? What a shame it would be.

That's all from me.

Bonne chance, G.


Gianfranco Chicco said...

even better that a luxury manager could be one from the "home" world. The starbuck's experience I loved (and I didn't find in NYC ones anymore) is that of a familiar and comfortable place, with nice sofas a relaxed atmosphere and nice music. Maybe a manager that "speaks" the language of homes (designer, manager) could help you get back to that aura that is quickly fading in your coffee stores...


gianandrea said...

Gianfranco, that's an interesting suggestion.
This feeling-at-home experience was very valuable, indeed.
It's sad to see that all of us is no longer able to get the same experience that in the past.

Jay, writer said...

Where I come from, Starbucks is hardly a haven. Although I've never really spotted a dirty branch, there are always a lot of people. A LOT. It's difficult to relax. However, the constant flow of people is something that cannot be helped. With the number of branches in my country, I hope that that there won't come a time when the value of the coffee shop disintegrates for good.

gianandrea said...

Jay, thanks for commenting. I think that Starbucks is the kind of company that everyone of us wuold like to see in health. The concept and the execution, at least for the first years, were great and it would be a shame to see the brand committing suicide.