Starbucks, one of the world’s most famous coffee companies has been known to get in grande trouble over the years. The company aims to please, but has not perfected every angle, twist and turn that big chains can face. With every drip fallen, the more heat gets created causing Starbucks to steam into a hot mess.
10. The Green Cup
People love their coffee, especially in the morning. Sometimes you feel like you can’t survive until you have your daily intake of caffeine. People flock to their favorite coffee spots on a regular basis and support the business. Consistency and predictability from a company are things that are well-liked by consumers. When their go-to coffee company faces a scandal, it is easy to see how that can be upsetting for loyal consumers. Starbucks faced a scandal when it came to the release of the 2016 cup design for the holiday season. “The green cup scandal” took customers by surprise. Customers are at peace with companies that they know what they are going to get and are not thrown curveballs. The green cup came out during the 2016 holiday season in an attempt to be a symbol of unity. The design on the cup showed people close together. Starbucks wanted this imagery to portray a sense of community as togetherness. During this time politics influenced great division among communities. The CEO of Starbuck’s Howard Schultz said: “During a divisive time in our country, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other.” Unfortunately, many consumers did not like the new design. Some people thought that the 2016 design was a form of political brainwashing. This cup only appeared for a limited time and remains memorable. Starbucks continues to release a different design for the holiday cup each year.
In 1971, Starbucks was born. The company got its name after the chief mate on a ship in the popular novel Moby-Dick. The first logo was of a mermaid in Greek mythology who lures sailors to shipwrecks. This image was a playful way to “lure” people into loving coffee. This logo was a mermaid with two tails and most of her nude body exposed. The colors were brown and white. The logo has evolved. It now shows only the face of the mermaid and the colors are green and white. It is a positive thing that the company revamped its image when needed. Images of nudity are not as quickly accepted in many cultures. The American version of the Starbucks logo is not always accepted in other countries. A risqué image of a somewhat nude woman is too much for conservative countries to show. For example, in Saudi Arabia, the logo is a crown swimming in the sea instead of a mermaid. This change was done so the logo image would appear more appropriate for their culture.
8. Wrong name spelling
Having your name misspelled or mispronounced has become a regular occurrence by the baristas at Starbucks. The company has gained a reputation for this and it has become a running joke. It happens far to often for it to be a mistake. It sometimes enrages clients and that can be understandable. These mistakes can embarrass a client if their name is uncommon or complicated. At the end of the day, most people are looking for a simple cup of coffee and do not like this inconvenience. A Starbucks representative has claimed that this “name game” helps to create a bond and fun interaction between the barista and the customer. Another reason that names are never correct is that the coffee shop is way too busy at times. These mistakes are most of the time actually innocent. The employees want to be fast and efficient and do not want to upset customers by making them wait a long time. The workers then rush to write the names down instead of taking the time to ask the spelling or pronunciation. Most customers believe that there is something strange about these mistakes happening, although the explanation given as to why this has been happening seems legit. Take a minute to observe all the action the next time you’re in line for your daily Venti Latte. The main thing should be whether they get your coffee order right, not how they spell your name.
7. False advertisement
Starbucks has gotten in serious, serious trouble when it comes to their advertising. There have been many lawsuits that have hit the company because of bad advertising. A woman from Chicago once accused Starbucks of false advertising. She wanted $5 million USD from the company! Her claim was that the beverages are not made the right way. She claims that the employees fill the cups up with too much ice. The cup then has less of the actual beverage and is all ice. The customer ends up overpaying and not getting the actual drink they ordered. Statements from this lawsuit include: “Starbucks’ advertising practices are clearly meant to mislead consumers when combined with the standard practice of filling a cold drink cup with far less liquid than the cup can hold.” Starbucks insists that if a customer does not like how a drink gets made, the employee will remake it. Overall, it does not sound like Starbucks was too apologetic about this situation. This customer was feeling very angry after many visits to the coffee chain. Many people have made ridiculous lawsuit claims against successful businesses. If they win, a big payday can be in the cards and that can be life-changing. Bad press is never good for a company and can impact the way clients see the business. Starbucks has not been the only major company to face issues like these. Unfortunately, business is not always a walk in the park.
6. Grueling training
Before starting any job, training must occur. Starbucks ensures that any potential employee gets the proper training. The company wishes to provide the best service possible. The training program for Starbucks is rigorous. It must be very draining for potential employees to go through this type of training. The training consists of learning a huge amount of info about every product. This training happens over many days, sometimes weeks. Then there is testing which must be mentally exhausting. It is also a very physical job where you are on your feet for the entire shift. This job is not for everybody. It is important to keep in mind that Starbucks is not a Mom and Pop shop selling only dark or medium roast with a muffin on the side. The menu is complex and there are many different modifications when it comes to each product. Each customer will have a different order, one more complicated than the next. There is heavy traffic is almost every location, on a regular basis. For this type of service, training is an absolute must, but when is enough, enough? The things people do to make a buck these days seem crazy, but to others, it is all part of the business. Nobody ever said the service industry was an easy one to work in! So a big thank you to all of the Starbucks employees who put in the time and training to get your order just perfect.
5. Many failures
With many companies, trial and error are imperative to its survival. Testing different concoctions allow the company to see what is a hit or a miss. New promotions show the company what direction their customer’s tastes are taking and what appeals to them. Being informed about your clientele is imperative to a company’s success. There are many ebbs and flows to a company’s survival, many wins and losses. Starbucks has unfortunately faced many failures throughout its’ decades of being open. Starbucks took a huge risk and decided to branch out from what they regularly serve up. Starbucks was no longer just about food and beverages, they decided to create a magazine. The magazine, named Joe Magazine, came out in 1999. It sounds like a great idea! Picture this: You go to the coffee shop, curl up with a warm latte and open up the pages to a new edition of the magazine. This magazine produced a mere 3 editions before it crashed and burned, surprisingly. Starbucks ended up losing a fair amount of money on the magazine venture but viewed this trial as a brave act by a company who was not afraid to try something new – despite it failing. Another big flop by this coffee company was the fancy blender that they created and sold for $100 a pop. The Starbucks Barista Bar Blender was designed for you to make drinks in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Consumers found it difficult to differentiate the Starbucks blender from the average run of the mill blender you buy at Walmart. The product was discontinued and put away onto the pile of “Oops! Failures!”
4. Angry customers
The more popular a company becomes. the more its reputation grows – both bad and good. They do not need to have a product fail or run an advertisement that ends up bombing. There will always be haters when it comes to any business and Starbucks is no exception. Certain negative perceptions can become linked to a company whether they are true or not. True or not, Starbucks has the reputation of having a very snooty clientele. The chain is known to attract customers who act entitled and behave rudely. A growing reputation about its clientele can make other potential consumers run in the other direction. Who really wants to share space with the bozo screaming on the cell phone and ignoring the cashier? A bad clientele can also affect potential hires from applying. It is unappealing to deal with difficult consumers throughout the day on a regular basis. Thankfully, not all customers are the same. A pleasant customer will always be appreciated by everyone in any line of business.
3. Growing competition
With coffee being a hot commodity, literally; it is no surprise that there is a coffee shop on almost every corner. Shops need to set themselves apart from the competition to stay on top of their game and remain in business. Companies need to find ways that make them unique and like no other. There is more creativity in marketing campaigns now than ever before. Starbuck’s marketing is a strength when it comes to promoting their business. This does not negate the fact that the company could be facing a lot of trouble from their competition. More and more customers prefer to give their money to shops that are locally run. Supporting local businesses helps their fellow community members. Supporting mega-chains helps the rich get richer. The money mega-chains make in comparison to the mom and pop shops are immense. Large chains tend to create a lot more collateral damage than the smaller local shops. People also care a lot more about the environment today and take into consideration a company’s environmental practices. It is vital that Starbucks remains environmentally conscious. Clients care about a company’s practices and the values shown by a business can directly affect attracting new customers or retaining current ones.
There is a great amount of damage being done to the earth due to human influences. The waste, carelessness, and lack of respect towards the environment seems to be getting worse and not better. It is vital that we all do our part in repairing the damage done and consider what practices we need to follow going forward. Consumers can make an effort to educate themselves about certain business practices worldwide. Sustainability is a must today, in homes, schools, work, business, you name it. Many people bring their own mugs to coffee shops. This helps reduce paper and plastic waste. Little actions like this are what people can do on a regular basis to help improve the environment going forward. Unfortunately, Starbucks is failing when it comes to sustainability. There are many important changes that could be happening when it comes to their business practices. In 2017, Starbucks used 3.85 billion paper cups for hot drinks. That is a huge number of paper cups. Take into account the plastic lids and paper sleeves to go over that cup so it’s not too hot to touch and there is now a lot of waste being generated from one single cup of coffee. These facts are becoming more and more important to clients and will have an impact on where a consumer might buy their next cup of coffee. Image is everything when it comes to consumerism. Starbucks needs to step up their game and start actually making positive decisions.
1. Starbucks is a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association
Some people find it easy to get outraged by anyone and anything these days. Companies can become associated with things that some may consider controversial. This association can cause their customers to boycott their establishments. Starbucks has faced this issue because it is a member of The Grocery Manufacturer Association. The Grocery Manufacturer Association has a negative image for some people. These people believe that what is going into their food is being hidden; such as GMO’s. Petitions have been created and signed. The petitions encourage people to boycott Starbucks. The goal of the petitions is to get Starbucks to withdraw their membership from this association. Millions of dollars are being spent by this association to defeat GMO labeling laws in the US. Consumers want to know what they are eating and drinking. Reading labels is important. This helps keep the public informed about what exactly is in their food and drink. Consumers have the right to know what they are spending their money on. Starbucks should cater to the desires of their consumers. Wants and needs change and companies need to adapt to this. Starbucks has also apparently worked side by side with Monsanto. This alliance was made to keep the ingredients that are going into their coffee a secret. It is not reassuring when your coffee company does not want you to know what exactly you are drinking. Starbucks wants to back a law that supports not labeling GMO altered products. There has been a lot of drama in the state of Vermont about passing this law. Because of this, superstar Neil Young refuses to drink Starbucks anymore. He said he was uncertain what was in his cup when drinking at Starbucks. His actions helped open the eyes of many unaware customers as well. When a celebrity makes a bold statement as Neil did, the public listens and reacts. Many websites, magazines, and newspapers wrote about Starbucks in a negative way. Starbucks took a huge financial hit and stocks plummeted due to this drama. Consumers just want to do business with a company that is honest, up-front and trustworthy. Being honest from the get-go is the best way to keep a good corporate reputation.