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Starbucks Opens First Store in India

Starbucks Opens First Store in India

The store in Mumbai is finally open after years of delays

Starbucks is hoping to tap into another giant in the coffee market: India. Now, the first storefront location in India is finally open, to the delight of coffee lovers everywhere.

The store is a joint combination between Starbucks and Tata Global Beverages, reports the New York Daily News. It was supposed to open five years ago, but now Starbucks will have three new locations in Mumbai in the next week. But the CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, told the Seattle Times that the coffee giant is taking a different approach than most other enterprises: focusing on the quality of the coffee, rather than the quantity of the stores. "We decided we needed to significantly elevate the physical presentation, the design, and quality of the experience way before someone actually tastes the coffee. And the environments we’ve created are so stunning right from the instant you walk in the store, there’s going to be such a level of separation visually between us and everybody else," he said.

And the newest store in Mumbai definitely stands out from the rest: housed in the historic Elphinstone Building, the store is filled with hand-carved wooden screens, vintage trunks, and old leather-bound books for a cool, indie vibe — what Schulze called "a shrine." The drinks and dishes will be both of Western taste and local tastes, with plates like tandoori paneer rolls. And a 12-ounce coffee will only cost about $2. We'll be waiting to see where Starbucks expands to next.

Starbucks to open first store in India by October end

The delayed opening of the outlet in Horniman Circle will mark the first of many planned by the company in India.

The 50-50 joint venture between the US coffee giant and Tata Global Beverages, known as Tata Starbucks, will use locally sourced coffee beans.

Starbucks currently operates more than 17,000 cafes, with about 6,000 of them in more than 50 nations outside the US.

Starbucks announced a reorganisation last year, creating a China and Asia Pacific division with the intention of opening outlets in India.

"Being able to use the highest quality espresso, sourced and roasted in India, is an important part of delivering a locally relevant experience to our customers in the market," John Culver, president of Starbucks China and Asia Pacific, said.

The Tata group is a massive Indian conglomerate. Its Tata Coffee division will supply coffee to the joint venture.

Indian coffee sales are put at about $667m annually, with the organised market - mainly through cafe sales - accounting for about $140m.

Cafe Coffee Day is the market leader in cafe outlets, followed by Barista and Costa Coffee.

Starbucks opens first drive-thru outlet in India

The store is located on the Ambala-Chandigarh Expressway and adds to the 187 outlets that the brand has

Global coffee retailer Starbucks has opened its first drive-thru outlet in India, announced Tata Starbucks Private Limited, the company that operates the brand in the country on Thursday.

The store is located on the Ambala-Chandigarh Expressway and adds to the 187 outlets that the brand has across Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Pune, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara. Starbucks entered the Indian market in October 2012 through a 50:50 Joint Venture with Tata Global Beverages (now called Tata Consumer Products Ltd).

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“Tata Starbucks has had an incredible journey in India, and we are proud to have achieved yet another milestone. The opening of our first drive-thru store showcases our commitment to evolving our brand and business in India and providing new and meaningful experiences to our customers," said Navin Gurnaney, chief executive officer, Tata Starbucks Pvt. Ltd.

The drive-thru format is convenient for customers who want to pick up their orders from their cars , or travellers on the go. The drive-thru window offers them the same range of menu items available at other Starbucks locations. However, the café also has two levels of in-store seating and offers free wi-fi and Starbucks merchandise.

To introduce the drive-thru in India, Tata Starbucks launched a digital marketing campaign with the tagline “Why wait for your brew, when you can drive-thru?"

Late last month, the company resumed its dine-in service at select stores in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara with enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols. The stores operate with 50% seating capacity to allow for social distancing between customers and employees. However, home delivery and kerbside takeaway service is available for customers across India.

In an earlier interview to Mint, Gurnaney said that the pandemic will set a new normal in human behaviour. “Even after the crisis blows over, customers are going to take time to recover and come back to their usual routines," he said.

He added that the situation will drive digital innovations in a big way. “For years, Starbucks globally has one of the best omnichannel retail experiences through concepts like electronic payments, mobile apps, pickup-only stores or third-party delivery networks to make the Starbucks experience more ubiquitous," he said.

Starbucks opens first drive-thru store in India

Coffee chain Starbucks has opened its first 'drive-thru' store in India on the Ambala-Chandigarh Expressway, the company announced.

“The opening of our first drive-thru store showcases our commitment to evolving our brand and business in India and providing new and meaningful experiences to our customers," Navin Gurnaney, CEO, Tata Starbucks, told Mint.

Gurnaney told the paper that the pandemic would 'set a new normal' and customers would take time to recover and return to usual routines, thus driving innovation.

The drive-thru outlets are popular in the United States as it allows customers to pick up orders from their vehicle. Most drive-thru stores offer the full menu and have seat-in facilities, Wi-Fi and merchandise counters as well. It has been introduced to India via the “Why wait for your brew, when you can drive-thru?" digital campaign.

Since restrictions were relaxed across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Starbucks resumed operations with 50 percent seating capacity and social distancing at select outlets in Delhi, Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kolkata. It restarted home delivery and take out services across stores in India.

Frequently Asked Questions

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine) two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

Unless it is very popular, all All Starbucks stores are under the direct management of Starbucks Coffee. There are currently no plans to franchise.

  • Q: Does Starbucks Franchise?
  • A: No, Starbucks does not franchise to individuals. However, in situations in which a master concessionaire or other company controls or can provide improved access to desirable retail space (such as an airport), the Company may consider licensing its operations to such a company.

Starbucks has 10,000 stores worldwide, some 4,400 of them are licensed shops. It’s nearly impossible to open Starbucks store as franchise in US or Canada, but in other countries, there is always a possibility.

Franchising is a way to help stores to grow, but the coffee retailer prefers licensing to keep more control over stores and product quality. Licensees don’t own stores, as franchisees do they basically rent the Starbucks brand by paying a licensing fee.

Starbucks opens in Mumbai with two more shops to follow next week

Starbucks has opened its first store in India in an historic building in south Mumbai as the Seattle-based coffee giant seeks growth in a market long associated with tea drinkers.

Mumbai: Starbucks has opened its first store in India in an historic building in south Mumbai as the Seattle-based coffee giant seeks growth in a market long associated with tea drinkers.

Chief executive Howard Schultz says India, along with China, are "at the core" of the company's growth strategy.

Two more shops are scheduled to open in Mumbai next week, followed by New Delhi early next year.

A 12 ounce cappuccino will sell for a little over $2. The menu features items such as Elaichi Mawa croissants — made with cardamom and milk solids — and tandoori paneer rolls for local tastes.

Starbucks operates in India through a 50-50 joint venture with Tata Global Beverages called Tata Starbucks.

Updated Date: October 19, 2012 15:44:30 IST

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Starbucks Launches New Takeout-Focused Concept Store — With ‘Limited’ Seating

Starbucks Corp. has opened its first Chinese store dedicated to takeout and online orders, drawing immediate comparisons with hometown rival Luckin Coffee Inc.

Seating is “limited” at the store, which opened at the heart of Financial Street in Beijing on Friday, and includes an area designed for delivery drivers to pick up drinks ordered online.

Branded as “Starbucks Now,” the move is seen as a response to a coffee retail market increasingly underpinned by delivery services.

Customers can place orders in advance through the company’s app before picking them at the store, the Seattle-based coffee chain said in a statement.

But customers will still be able to place orders at the counter, unlike Luckin, which has become a serious local challenger since it was founded in October 2017. The Chinese company has billed itself as a high-tech purveyor of coffee, operating a chain of mostly minimalist shops staffed by one or two baristas. All purchases from the chain must take place through the company’s app and online orders are promised within 30 minutes.

Luckin — which listed on the Nasdaq in May — has said it wants to operate 4,500 stores in China by the end of the year, including the 2,370 stores it ran in 28 cities as of March.

Consumers can already order drinks and food from most of Starbucks’ near 3,800 Chinese stores in partnership with the Alibaba-owned on-demand food delivery service Starbucks Now is seen as an effort to ramp up the U.S. company’s ability to cater to the increasingly tech-savvy Chinese public.

Starbucks’ China business picked up in the second half of last year after declining in the first half when same-store sales dropped 3% between April and June. For the latest quarter through March 2019, its same-store sales in China posted growth of 3%.

The store is “a testament to our unwavering commitment to delivering innovative customer experiences through new retail formats,” said Leo Tsoi, chief operating officer and president of Starbucks China Retail.

An earlier version of this story gave the incorrect period for Starbucks’ 3% drop in same-store sale in 2018. It was between April and June.

Tata Starbucks Reaffirms Growth in India with Entry into Kolkata in 2018 and Commitment to Social Impact Programs

Surrounded by Tata Starbucks partners (employees), (from L-R) Ajoy Misra, chief executive officer and managing director, Tata Global Beverages Harish Bhat, Brand Custodian, Tata Sons John Culver, group president, Starbucks International and Channel Development with Sumi Ghosh, chief executive officer, Tata Starbucks, celebrate the company&rsquos opening of the Victoria Mills store &ndash the 100th store in Mumbai, India &ndash and five-year market anniversary. (Photo: Business Wire)

Surrounded by Tata Starbucks partners (employees), (from L-R) Ajoy Misra, chief executive officer and managing director, Tata Global Beverages Harish Bhat, Brand Custodian, Tata Sons John Culver, group president, Starbucks International and Channel Development with Sumi Ghosh, chief executive officer, Tata Starbucks, celebrate the company&rsquos opening of the Victoria Mills store &ndash the 100th store in Mumbai, India &ndash and five-year market anniversary. (Photo: Business Wire)

MUMBAI, India--( BUSINESS WIRE )--Tata Starbucks Private Limited, the 50/50 joint venture between Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq: SBUX) and Tata Global Beverages Limited, today celebrated the opening of its 100 th store located in Mumbai and its five-year anniversary in India with a series of strategic initiatives that reaffirm its long-term commitment to the market.

“As we continue on our journey with Tata, a company that shares the same values and vision for growth, we remain committed to earning the trust and respect of our Indian customers through the unparalleled Starbucks Experience,” said John Culver, group president, Starbucks International and Channel Development. “At the core of this experience are our Indian partners, who proudly represent the more than 330,000 Starbucks partners around the world, and through their dedication and passion have created a strong foundation for Starbucks as we expand to new cities across India in the years to come.”

As Tata Starbucks grows to serve more customers across the country, the company will open three stores in the historic city of Kolkata in early 2018, including a store at the iconic Park Mansion designed to reflect Starbucks coffee heritage. Starbucks stores will deliver signature handcrafted beverages, extensive food offerings and the distinct “Third Place” in the city.

Pathways to Opportunities

As Tata Starbucks continues to grow, so does its commitment to be a positive force in contributing to the future success of Indians. The company expects to double the number of partners (employees) it employs to 3,000 over the next five years and, underscoring its commitment to be a progressive workplace, aims to boost the proportion of women in its workforce to 40 percent by 2022, up from 25 percent today. These build on existing initiatives to fulfill Tata Starbucks aspiration to be the employer of choice, with industry-leading benefits such as the five-day work schedule, a first-of-its-kind program introduced in 2016.

“Our success is defined by our incredible partners who take pride in serving our customers with care and passion,” said Sumi Ghosh, chief executive officer, Tata Starbucks. “Our aspiration, as we continue to grow, is to be the employer of choice in the market through the investments we make for our partners and by creating brighter opportunities for people across the country.”

The company will also continue to deepen its connections with the Indian community and leverage its scale to make a difference to local causes that matter most. Over the next five years, Tata Starbucks will train 3,000 young people who are facing barriers to employment through the Tata STRIVE program, the partnership which combines job skills training and Starbucks expertise in retail operations.

“Our journey with Starbucks has been gratifying and this is a remarkable moment for Tata Global Beverages and Starbucks,” said Ajoy Misra, chief executive officer and managing director, Tata Global Beverages. “We are proud of our shared sense of business values and focus on quality, and we are extremely optimistic about the continued growth opportunities in India.”

Celebrating 100 th Starbucks Store in India

Located at Victoria Mills (Kamala Mills), one of Mumbai’s major commercial hubs, Tata Starbucks 100 th store features a carved wood wall art that honors India’s coffee heritage. The store’s earthy colors and natural wood materials evoke a warm atmosphere that invites customers to relax and connect. The store is the first Starbucks in India to serve Starbucks® Nitro Cold Brew, a small-batch Cold Brew coffee steeped overnight and then infused with nitrogen for a naturally sweet flavor and velvety smooth mouthfeel. Takeaway bags at the 100 th store are sourced from Srishti, an initiative that enables livelihood opportunities for young people with disabilities from the families of plantation workers.

To commemorate the opening of its 100 th store, Tata Starbucks is introducing India’s first You Are Here – Mumbai – ceramic mugs. Inspired by distinct local landmarks such as the Gateway of India, Marine Drive, the Worli Sea Link, Flora Fountain, Taj Mahal Palace and featuring the iconic black and yellow Mumbai taxi, the design captures the spirit of the cosmopolitan metropolis.

In celebration of the 100 th store opening and five-year market anniversary, Tata Starbucks is also introducing the Golden Sparkle Frappuccino® Blended Beverage at all stores in India from 25 October to 6 November. The Golden Sparkle Frappuccino® is espresso blended with rich mocha sauce, topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with an elegant gold-sugar dusting. In honor of the milestone, on 28 October any Short or Tall-size beverage will be available for INR 100 ($1.50 USD) at all stores across India.

Starbucks entered India with the opening of its first store at Horniman Circle in Mumbai in 2012. Today, Starbucks stores are located across six cities: Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi and Bangalore.

Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience please visit us in our stores, online at and through the Starbucks Newsroom.

About Tata Starbucks Private Limited

Starbucks entered the Indian market in October 2012 through a 50/50 Joint Venture with Tata Global Beverages and currently operates 100 stores in India across Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru and Pune, through a network of over 1,600 passionate partners (employees). Starbucks stores are operated by the joint venture, TATA Starbucks Private Limited, and branded as Starbucks Coffee – “A Tata Alliance.”

Five Things Starbucks Did to Get China Right

If there is one company that should have failed in China, it would be Starbucks. China has thousands of years of history drinking tea and a strong culture associated with it. No one could have guessed that Chinese would ever drink coffee instead of tea.

Yet, Starbucks has successfully opened more than 570 stores in 48 cities since it first entered China twelve years ago. Building on this momentum, it plans to open 1,500 stores by 2015. What did the Seattle-based coffee company do right in China? Here are five lessons from Starbucks’s success.

Think Different

When Starbucks entered China in 1999, many were skeptical that Starbucks had a chance. Given the fact that Chinese people have traditionally favored tea, it seemed impossible that Starbucks would be able to break into this market.

However, Starbucks did not let this skepticism stop it. A careful market study revealed that as the Chinese middle class emerged, there existed an opportunity for Starbucks to introduce a Western coffee experience, where people could meet with their friends while drinking their favorite beverages.

Starbucks literally created that demand. Now you can find a Starbucks almost on every major street of the coastal cities in China. Even my 90-year old father in China began to tell me how he drank coffee after meals, rather than tea, to help his digestion. Starbucks has revolutionized how Chinese view and drink coffee.

Position Smart

Once Starbucks decided to enter China, it implemented a smart market entry strategy. It did not use any advertising and promotions that could be perceived by the Chinese as a threat to their tea-drinking culture. Instead, it focused on selecting high-visibility and high-traffic locations to project its brand image.

The next thing Starbucks did was to capitalize on the tea-drinking culture of Chinese consumers by introducing beverages using popular local ingredients such as green tea. This strategy has effectively turned potential obstacles into Starbucks’ favor. Chinese consumers quickly developed a taste for Starbucks’ coffee, which was essential to Starbucks’ success in China.

One of Starbucks’ key marketing strategies is to provide customers with an exceptional experience. The chic interior, comfortable lounge chairs, and upbeat music are not only differentiators that set Starbucks apart from the competition, but also have strong appeal to younger generations who fantasize about Western coffee culture as a symbol of modern lifestyle. Many go to Starbucks not just for a cup of Frappuccino, but also for the “Starbucks Experience” that makes them feel cool and trendy.

Thus, Starbucks has established itself as an aspiration brand and is able to charge premium prices.

Brand Global

Starbucks understands the value of its global brand and has taken steps to maintain brand integrity. One of Starbucks’ best practices is to send their best baristas from established markets to new markets and train new employees. These baristas act as brand ambassadors to help establish the Starbucks culture in new locations and ensure that service at each local store meets their global standards.

Western brands in general have a reputation for quality products and services. They have a competitive advantage over Chinese companies in establishing themselves as premium brands. However, as Shaun Rein, founder and managing director of China Market Research Group, pointed out, too many Western brands push for market share by cutting prices, which is a losing strategy because they can never “out-cut” local Chinese competitors.

Global brand does not mean “global products,” or “global platform” as eBay mistakenly tried. Starbucks has highly localized menu of beverages that is particularly tailored to Chinese consumers. It has done an extensive consumer taste profile analysis to create a unique “East meets West” blend. It even gives each store the flexibility to choose from a wide variety of its beverage portfolio that fits the customers at its particular location.

It is critical for global brands to adapt their businesses to local markets in order to succeed in China, and Starbucks has done just that.

Partner Local

China is not one homogeneous market. There are many Chinas. The culture from northern China is very different from that of the east. Consumer spending power inland is not on par with that in coastal cities. To address this complexity of the Chinese market, Starbucks partnered with three regional partners as part of its expansion plans.

In the north, Starbucks entered a joint-venture with Beijing Mei Da coffee company. In the east, Starbucks partnered with the Taiwan-based Uni-President. In the south, Starbucks worked with Hong Kong-based Maxim’s Caterers. Each partner brings different strengths and local expertise that helped Starbucks gain insights into the tastes and preferences of local Chinese consumers.

Working with right partners can be an effective way to reach local customers and expand quickly without going through a significant learning curve.

Commit Long Term

China is not an easy market to crack. It requires a long term commitment. An important strategy is to invest in employees. When I visited a Starbucks store in Shanghai back in 2007, I was impressed by the cheerful greetings of Chinese baristas, which set Starbucks apart from copycats. Starbucks has done an excellent job in recruiting and training its employees. This is a win-win strategy because employees are at the heart of delivering the “Starbucks Experience” to customers. They are the best marketing ambassadors for the company.

Long term commitment also means patience. It takes time to educate the market and gain customer loyalty. The companies that invest in long term plans can be sure to reap handsome rewards.

If Starbucks can succeed in a most unlikely-to-succeed market, there is no reason that any other company, large or small, cannot succeed in China. The ability to think differently, do your homework, implement right strategies, adapt to local markets, and commit long term are all important steps to achieve that goal.

Brewing innovation

The world's largest coffee retailer, Starbucks, pulled itself out of the financial meltdown of 2008 by aligning its operations with customer demands through social media. This case study looks at what the company did right to achieve this turnaround.

Founded in 1971 in Seattle, Starbucks is present in 50 states in the US and 43 countries. It is one of the most respected brands, winning awards such as "Best Business", "Most Admired Company", "100 Best Corporate Citizens" and so on. While its quality is unquestionable, its price has always been higher than those offered by the domestic coffee houses in various countries.

This was one of the reasons why the company took a hit during the economic slowdown of 2008 as customers opted for cheaper options for their everyday coffee. Starbucks was forced to shut 600 shops that were not making profits. By March 30, 2008, its profit had fallen 28 per cent compared to the same period in 2007. In 2009, it closed another 300 stores and laid off 6,700 employees.

On January 8, 2008, Howard D. Schultz returned as CEO of Starbucks after a gap of eight years, replacing Jim Donald. Schultz had nurtured the company since 1982 when it had only four outlets. He had served as CEO from 1987 to 2000 and had presided over the companys public offering in 1992.

Schultz shot off a letter to the employees on the day he took office once again as CEO. He said, "The company must shift its focus away from bureaucracy and back to customers." He made his objective very clear: "Reigniting the emotional attachment with customers.

"The previous leadership had blamed the economy and the higher cost of dairy products for the slump in business. They had also stated this as a reason to hike prices. However, Schultz took an entirely different view of the situation. He told the employees, "The company shouldn't just blame the economy Starbucks's heavy spending to accommodate its expansion has created a bureaucracy that masked its problems."

In a departure from conventional strategies like "a redo of the store layout", Starbucks soon embarked on a technology-oriented strategy. An environment where employees could think freely about the organisation and contribute in terms of strategies and ideas was fostered. As a result, a community involvement concept was developed.

In March 2008, "My Starbucks Idea" was rolled out for customers to exchange ideas with each other and directly with the company. As part of this, customers were able to give opinions on everything such as products, services, layout, advertising, corporate social responsibility, in-store music and so on. More than 93,000 ideas were shared by about 1.3 million users on social media, and page views per month rose to 5.5 million.

After the 2007/08 crisis, Starbucks had to rebuild its customer relationships and show the world that it cared for quality and consistency. It also had to give a leg up to the altruistic component of the brand such as community building and care for the environment. Through the "My Starbucks Idea" customers had a direct link with the headquarters and of course Starbucks was listening. Soon Starbucks's ubiquity became an asset as customers from around the world had an opportunity to connect with each other, spawning like-minded communities like the 'free Wi-Fi group', 'soy group', 'comfy chair group' or 'frappuccino lovers'.

Starbucks implemented over 100 ideas. Through this initiative, the coffee retailer built a robust fan base. By giving customers a platform to voice their ideas and views on the brand and by responding to it, it was able to reignite the brand trust.

Starbucks soon realised that it had to project its 'cool' element via social media-based marketing. The organisation must never look desperate or too keen to increase its sales. So the company refrained from pushing too many products, causes or offers to its followers. The focus was more on building and engaging with the community.

One of the accidental tweets from Starbucks was just a smiley face that received a lot of admiration from the community. Tweets such as 'keep calm and make coffee' is in line with its idea of keeping a cool image and building a community. Starbucks's use of social media points to the fine balance it maintained between spontaneous and well-planned posts. The social media platforms have also helped the company swiftly mitigate and manage any information that causes harm to its global identity. In 2009, when rumours of Starbucks's profits being spent on Israel army surfaced, the company used the social media outlets effectively to refute it and restore its image of a peace-loving organisation.


The company embraced mobile apps much before its competitors. Very early in the race, Starbucks had linked its social media strategy objectives with technology channels like mobile apps. It was carefully designed to appeal to the masses and specifically to the segment that made up its online community. Through its iPhone app features like store locator, nutrition-based information and rewards programme, it integrated and enhanced its social media community fabric. The head start in technology adoption has helped the company come up with trend-setting ideas.

One of them was the move to help its customers personalise the company's offerings. The initiative, 'MyStarbucksSignature' allowed consumers to develop their own signature drinks (hot or cold coffee), name the drink and share the new flavour with the community. In this way, Starbucks informs the consumer of the wide range of product offering they have at their stores across the world. It also shows the consumer how to order this cup and what it will look like. The only modification a consumer can do in his or her signature drink is in the ingredient mix and quantity. This way the supply network is only slightly disrupted at the retail and service end. Everything else related to ingredients and distribution remains completely untouched.

In 2008, the marketing teams had started a promotion to increase customer visits to stores during breakfast hours. It included a free pastry with a coffee bought before 10:30 a.m. The initiative created traction online and over one million people across the US queued up at Starbucks outlets.

Such social media promotions were much less expensive than the companys promotions at its stores or putting up billboards across cities. The awareness and response was also more than that from promotions through traditional channels like television advertisements.

Employees and baristas too were always an integral part of Starbucks online and social media community. It has a separate page for its employees, which is used to generate and debate ideas.

An example of employees contributing to its success is its Twitter page. The chain's voice on Twitter is 28-year-old Brad Nelson, a former barista. In 2008, when the company was looking for ideas to re-engage with its customers, Nelson suggested that he could begin a Twitter handle for the brand. Today, Starbucks has 775,000 followers.


'My Starbucks Idea', set up for customers to exchange ideas, helped the company understand their needs and concerns. Such a strategy could have been dangerous if the company had ignored the customers' suggestions. But Starbucks was responsive and showed that it cared about their customers.

The 'MyStarbucksSignature' initiative, where customers could create their own personalised drinks, showcased the Starbucks assortment, created an interactive experience that involved customers in product creation and taught them how to order such drinks, while making it a fun activity that can be shared with friends. Again, there could be operational pitfalls.

If customisation slows down in-store processes, such initiative can be unsuccessful. So Starbucks integrated 'customisation' into its existing processes. While in the past, Starbucks, as well as other companies, have implemented social media activities, it remains challenging for many to understand the effectiveness of individual social media activities.

Even for Starbucks it may be difficult to judge the relative effectiveness of the individual marketing activities since many were implemented at a time when it was closing down a number of stores. Going forward, it becomes important for firms to evaluate what types of social media activities actually increase revenues. Nonetheless, the case showcases how social media can be used to reignite a brand - especially if the company manages to align its operations with changes to customers' demand for products.

Assistant Professor of Marketing, LBS


This strategy has established a large active online community that influences the company's product strategy, and gathers suggestions on every aspect of its operations. But just having a phenomenal community of product co-creators does not mean that all problems can be presented to, and solved by, the same community. Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ is the company's commitment to do business in ways that are good for people and the planet.

When Starbucks needed to tackle a specific complex problem - reducing waste generated by its disposable cups - it recognised that the same community that it was engaging with in its ideation site, My Starbucks Idea, was not helpful. Starbucks soon realised that when it comes to co-creation, the platform you need very much depends on the problem you are trying to solve.

It needed an audience that cared about the issue, a new strategy and a new technology. Eventually, Starbucks teamed up with Mutopo, a social co-creation agency that led a group of environmentally conscious, social-media savvy entrepreneurs to solve this problem.

Starbucks' ability to use technology to capture ideas, votes, and comments from its three key broad participant groups - customers, employees, and partners - has created value for the company. It is amongst names like Lego, Ford, and Verizon, who are driving innovation as a sustainable value creation strategy. Starbucks is a company to watch out for as its continues to innovate a story where every customer is a stakeholder and very vested in the company.

Chief Executive Officer, VML Qais

Starbucks is a great example of a brand turning around its business by returning to its roots and reconnecting directly with its customers.

While many companies are struggling to get back to pre-2007 financial figures, Starbucks has shown that people are willing to spend $5 or 3 pound every day on their latte and tweet about it too.