My Starbucks

March 9, 2007

Trail Talk has a good post on Starbucks. I really love my Starbucks, they know me and I feel comfortable in the store. In fact, when I study my Sunday School lesson I get more accomplished than at home. The difference is probably the difference between a guest and a father who’s directing the home school and giving attention to everyone. So maybe that is not a fair comparison.

I have read several books on Starbucks and have also worked in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years. In fact, I worked for Shoney’s Inc for 17-18 years all the way from dishwasher to District Manager. The first 10 years I worked for Shoney’s it was run like a family business, then it took on a more corporate look and feel. That’s when I think we lost customer appeal. It was no longer a place to go to meet friends; both in the store and the frequent customers. When the company no longer had the loyalty to its employees, employees for sure were not going to return it (for no reason).

My first 10 years it was rare to go out and eat at a competitive restaurant. I just felt like I was being dishonest or disloyal. When I did eat at a “enemy” restuarant I told the manager if myexperience was good or bad. And I thought about how to make “our” store better. You think this cannot be true but imagine this; more often than not when I visited with employees’ families who we eating in the restaurant their children were proud that their parents worked at the store. Sometimes the kids would even say that when they grow up they would like to work for Shoney’s.

Maybe Starbucks has found the formula that small and large restaurants abandoned for faster table turnovers and greater profits. Only to find that they are without a loyal customer base. Just a thought.

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