What do you see when you look around you? Cafés are one of the easiest things to find around us. Among the various cafes are Starbucks, A Twosome Place, Pascucci, and Hollys Coffee. I want to introduce Starbucks among these. The reason that I want to introduce Starbucks is because of their management philosophy and their special characteristics that makes Starbucks different from other cafés.
Let’s take a look at the management philosophy created by Starbucks chief executive, Howard Schultz’s. The first and most important aspect of this management philosophy is to sell the service to clients not coffee. Before Schultz opened Starbucks he visited espresso bars in Italy. He was impressed that baristas had conversations with their clients when they made coffee. He too wants to make Starbucks cafés feel comfortable and pleasant, not just a place that sells coffee to drink. So, Starbucks doesn’t invest in advertising to make higher their brand value. Instead, they invest in their clients to experience Starbucks firsthand and let them advertise their own brand. This approach is called Experience Marketing. Starbucks pursues a strategy through word of mouth. It also gets a lot of exposure by having its locations where customers can access them frequently. Starbucks wants to give people ‘the third place’ image, different from their house and workplace. They aim to have customers take their time as they comfortably drink coffee. To emphasize these characteristics, Starbucks place a variety of messages that contain the word ‘experience’ in each store.
The second part of the management philosophy is to think of staffas a partner not employees. There is a backstory to this idea. When Howard Schultz was young, his father hurt his legs driving his company’s truck. However, although his father’s legs were hurt while working, he was fired from his company without any insurance. This experience influenced Schultz’s desire to make a company where all employees feel respected. His management philosophy is to think employees as the people whose employees are responsible for delivering the company’s enthusiasm to the customers. These management philosophy principles are reflected in Starbucks’ personal management system. For example, in 1988 they gave medical insurance service to all employees including part-time staffers. In 1990, when sales resulted in a surplus of interest for the company, they began to look for ways to share the interest with all employees. As a result, in 1991 Starbucks offered stock options. They gave employees the ability to purchase their company’s stock shares at a fraction of the price. This was the first time in the US retail sector where all employees from top to bottom received such an offer. This option is called bean stock.
Next, let’s see the special characteristics that make Starbucks different from other cafés. One special characteristic is that Starbucks doesn’t have any smoking rooms. This practice is related to the Experience Marketing aspect; cigarettes block the flavor of coffee. Also, Starbucks imposes a rule that there is no smoking allowed within eight meters of its stores. The no smoking rule is strictly observed.
A second special characteristic is that Starbucks doesn’t have any bells. This is to help customers and employees form a bond without any interference. This concept was derived from Schultz’s Italy experience. He realized that coffee is a medium that connects people to form bonds. So, Starbucks gives their customers a coffee by calling their own customer’s nickname instead using a bell.
A third special characteristic is that all Starbucks’ background music is the same. Starbucks doesn’t play pop songs in cafes so customers can concentrate better. Instead, Starbucks plays its own album music produced by their companies. They play classical, old pop, and jazz. Also, these albums can’t be copied and after one month the albums are automatically deleted. This makes Starbucks’ background music scarce.
Behind Starbucks’ success, there is a detailed management philosophy and special characteristics. If you are Starbucks lover, knowing these details will only help you appreciate Starbucks more.