Starbucks has become perhaps the most popular coffee chain in the world. We all know the famous mermaid logo, we all know about the famous red cups. However, what you may not know is that there are plenty of interesting untold truths about the franchise that are not only surprising but also fascinating. Here are the top 10 untold truths of Starbucks.
1. The Chain was Founded by 2 Teachers and a Writer
Rather than being founded by a big business as we would expect, Starbucks was actually founded by two teachers and a writer – Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker. The trio opened their first location way back in 1971 in Pike Place Market in Seattle. These days, you can find a Starbucks location on pretty much every corner.
Since 1987, it is estimated that an average of 2 new Starbucks locations are opened every single day. Not only is that great for the coffee aficionados among us but imagine the employment opportunities that this franchise is creating! Right now, Santa Fe Springs, California has the most Starbucks locations with 560 locations within a 25-mile radius.
What you may not know is that there are some Starbucks locations that are actually really cool. First off, there is the eco-friendly store in Tukwila, Washington. This Starbucks store has been made entirely from reclaimed shipping containers. Not only does it look unique, but it has proven very popular on social media and really become a talking point.
Another store that got people talking was “The Bank”. This concept store was opened in Amsterdam and boasts locally inspired design elements. It even has a slow coffee theatre to test new brewing methods. This is definitely one to visit if you are ever in Amsterdam.
2. There Are Over 87,000 Possible Drink Combinations
When looking at all of the possible drink combinations from the Starbucks menu, it was found that there are 87,000 possibilities. You can literally add anything to your drink from caramel shots to extra shots of espresso – Starbucks is the place to be if you want your drink tailored exactly to your tastes.
The seasonal menu from Starbucks has become something that we all look forward to every year and the red cups are instantly recognizable. This year’s red cups are rumored to include Chestnut Praline Latte, Egg Nog Latte, Peppermint Latte, and even Christmas Cookie Latte. We’re excited already! There are also Halloween drinks too.
What many people may not realize is that much like all fast food and drink franchises, Starbucks does have a secret menu available, if you know what to ask for. Something that is proving very popular on social media right now is the Keto friendly Peach Citrus White Tea. Technically not a secret, this is simply a variation on an existing menu item, but it’s always good to know what to ask for! It can’t be any worse than the Unicorn Frappuccino….
The great thing about Starbucks is that you can create drinks that are specifically tailored to your tastes exactly. If you take a look online, then you will see that social media is constantly abuzz with coffee fans listing their favorite flavor combinations. Try out as many as possible and see which ones tickle your taste buds!
3. Starbucks Actually Have Their Own Music Label
This is something that many people will have no idea about. However, Hear Music is actually owned by Starbucks, alongside the Concord Music Group. This has been the case since 2007. Their first signing to the label was the multi-talented Sir Paul McCartney. Before he joined Hear Music, Sir Paul was with EMI.
These days, there are a number of famous faces that are signed to Hear Music, including Joni Mitchell and Elvis Costello. Their most famous modern signing is the mysterious Sia Furler. The label itself was actually founded in 1990, but it was purchased by Starbucks in 1999 and partnered with Concord Music Group in 2007 when they really took off.
Sia has gone from strength to strength with some of her hits including ‘Elastic Heart’, ‘Chandelier’ and the song that started her career all those years ago, ‘Breathe Me’. It is not known whether or not there are any plans in the pipeline to add any other big names to the Hear Music label, but it is definitely one to keep an eye on if you are a music fan. If they can get Sir Paul McCartney on board then the possibilities are endless! It would certainly be interesting to learn what they offered him to get him to move from EMI though.
Who would have thought that a world-famous coffee chain is behind some of the biggest musicians in the world? Amazing!
4. They Have Some Clever Market Research Tactics
When Starbucks took a bit of a hit and started to struggle with maintaining a positive image, they decided to be quite sneaky. They opened several stores in disguise. There are a number of these locations, but two of the most well-known are 15th Avenue Coffee & Tea, and Roy Street Coffee, both in Seattle.
These coffee shops were stripped of all Starbucks logos, all uniforms and even menus. Anything that associated them with the brand was removed. However, they added on the menu that some of their items were inspired by Starbucks and they still accepted the Starbucks card. Very suspicious.
One of the coffee shops has now been turned back into a traditional Starbucks location, whereas the other remains disguised as an independent coffee shop. You can say what you like about big brands and their tactics, but there is no denying that this is a really clever way of conducting market research and avoiding pre-judgment from customers.
This, in combination with social media has proven to be a great technique for Starbucks to find out what people really want, in terms of coffee. You can guarantee that as soon as the middle of November comes around, social media sites are going to be buzzing with people speculating about this year’s red cups and what they’re expecting.
5. Their Food and Drink is Surprisingly Unhealthy
When thinking about Starbucks, unhealthy is not something that comes to mind, especially when in comparison to plenty of other fast food and drink chains. However, the food and drink on the Starbucks menu is actually surprisingly unhealthy.
One great example that demonstrates this fact is the Grande Coffee. This hugely popular beverage contains a staggering 320mg of caffeine. This is more than 4 times the amount of caffeine than you would find in a standard can of Red Bull. Yikes!
Okay, so the drinks aren’t exactly healthy. The food has to be better, right? Wrong! The Cinnamon Chip Scone from Starbucks actually contains more calories than a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder, which contains 480 calories. I’ll certainly be keeping this in mind next time I go to get a coffee!
Of course, there are plenty of items on the Starbucks menu that are a lot healthier than that. There are plenty of drink combinations that are suited to certain diets and not full of rubbish. The great thing about Starbucks is that because you can create any flavor combination, you can choose how healthy you want your drink to be. They have some healthier food options on their menu, too.
6. Their Yearly Stats are Astounding
As you can imagine, with thousands of Starbucks locations all over the world, this franchise is worth billions. However, their yearly stats are mind-boggling. For example, they really value their employees. They currently spend more than $300 million on health care for them. This is more than the coffee chain spends on coffee beans every year!
We know that they make millions of drinks every day; but what is really hard to get your head around is just how much they use, in terms of ingredients. For example, every year, Starbucks goes through an incredible 93 million gallons of milk. That’s a lot of cows!
This amount of milk is enough to fill 155 Olympic sized swimming pools. Let that sink in. As well as the staggering amount of milk that Starbucks goes through, they also go through a whopping 2.3 billion paper cups every single year.
Imagine how much recycling that could produce! When you add to that the amount of coffee beans that they must go through, the juices, the syrups, the added extras for different drinks, on top of all of the food that they produce, they must spend hundreds of millions on a yearly basis. It is certainly nice to know that they value their employees and their health though!
7. Not All of their Products Have Been a Success
Whilst Starbucks is the most popular coffee chain in the world, not all of their products have been a success. There have been some drinks that they have launched that have been a total disaster. The first foray into a failed product was the Tazo Tea Berry Infusions. This drink was a black chai tea infused with fruit juices. With reviews stating that the drinks were spicy and peppery, it’s no wonder the drink failed. It did have some fans, but not enough to keep it on the menu, unfortunately.
Another failed product was the 1995 Mazagran coffee cola partnership between Pepsi Co and Starbucks. I don’t know about you, but the idea of Pepsi mixed with coffee is not appealing to me in the slightest! Needless to say, this one was also pulled from the menu quite quickly after bosses realized it was doomed to fail.
Finally, there was the Chantiqo. This hot drink was designed to be like a European hot chocolate but was marketed as a dessert that you could drink. Whilst there were plenty of fans of this thick, chocolatey beverage, it didn’t last long at all. It was added to the menu in 2005, only to be withdrawn a year later.
Although there have been a few failures in terms of adventurous new beverages, there have been plenty of huge successes too. The Espresso, for example, always has and always will be a hugely popular menu item.
Keep an eye on social media if you want to keep up to date with the latest releases from Starbucks, as it is usually sites like Facebook and Twitter where the chain will start to discuss their plans for future menu items.
8. They Have a Hugely Popular Rewards Scheme
Much like the majority of fast food and drink chains around the world, Starbucks has a hugely popular rewards scheme for its regular customers. First of all, they offer the Green membership card. With this, you are entitled to claim 2 stars per dollar spend at the chain. You get a birthday reward, and you are able to pay for your food and drink through the Starbucks app.
Next up is the Gold membership. With this membership card, you can claim monthly double star days, and you get a reward for every 125 stars that you earn. As an added extra, you get a personalized gold membership card. Fancy!
Finally, there is the hammered Gold membership card. This card was awarded to 14 winners when it was launched. Much mystery surrounds this mythical membership card, but it reportedly allows the cardholder to claim free Starbucks for life! I want one!
If you are a regular Starbucks customer, then it is definitely worth purchasing one of the membership cards, because the rewards that you will get are certainly worth it.
9. No Smells Allowed!
This is definitely going to sound like a strange one. However, there is a ban on employees of Starbucks wearing any perfume or cologne. This is because the coffee beans absorb smells and the last thing that you want is a coffee that tastes of perfume.
It is also because of this reason that Starbucks banned smoking in their locations long before it became law. They actually banned smoking in their locations back in the 1980’s. This is probably a good thing, I don’t fancy a smoky coffee either.
It also adds to the atmosphere of the coffee shop. There is nothing better for a coffee fan than walking into a Starbucks chain and being greeted to the smell of freshly brewed coffee. This is especially true if you visit in the morning and need something to wake you up a little.
10. The Mermaid Logo Hasn’t Always Been PG
This is something that only those of a certain age will remember. The Starbucks mermaid is one of the most recognizable logos in the world. However, it has changed quite a lot over the years and it hasn’t always been PG!
Once upon a time, the mermaid actually had nipples on show. Hardly what you want to think about when being served your coffee fix. Thankfully, bosses changed the logo slightly so that the mermaid’s hair now flows down over any naughty bits.
What many people may not know is that the mermaid logo is actually based on the famous tale of Moby Dick. Fascinating. Pretty much everyone in the modern world will be able to recognize the famous mermaid logo today. It is what we look for when we are out and about and need our coffee fix!
Starbucks has an incredibly rich history, and as you can tell from these untold truths, there is still a lot to learn. Next time you go to grab your coffee, have a think about everything, from fascinating marketing techniques to failed drinks. This is one coffee chain that still holds many secrets to be learned.
It looks as though Starbucks is going to continue to go from strength to strength. They are constantly adding new menu items, getting people talking, and luring people in with their lucrative rewards schemes. As well as this, they have proven more than once that they are incredibly good employers. If you want to get your barista career off to a flying start, then somewhere like Starbucks would definitely be a great place to start.
Next time you are enjoying your Starbucks creation, have a think about all of the different flavor combinations that are possible and perhaps get a little adventurous next time you order your drink. Who knows what flavors you could stumble upon!