Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I Was Right, I Was Riiight!

Which, you know, I pretty much always am. Or at least that's what I'd like Mr. Daddy to believe. But at least I will admit when I'm wrong, unlike some people. (That sound you hear is all the people I know laughing their heinies off!)

But I digress.

So have you heard the news about Starbucks? They're closing for three hours today for barista training. According to an article I read, Howard Schultz wants all the employees to be re-educated in the "art of espresso."

You know, back in the days when Mr. Daddy was a barista, they used to have to actually pull shots of espresso. It had to be timed just right and if your shot didn't pour for a certain number of seconds it wasn't a good pull and you were supposed to toss it. In recent years, in an effort to speed things up, Starbucks switched to automated espresso machines and all baristas had to do was push a button. Easier? Yes. Faster? Definitely. As good? I don't think so.

Back when Mr. Daddy used to manage a Starbucks he used to have problems with his baristas not making drinks properly. Every drink has a very specific recipe and baristas are supposed to follow that, with the exception of customer directed changes (i.e., an extra pump of syrup, dry, wet, extra hot, etc., though I have always said that customers should be limited to three adjectives per drink!) Mr. Daddy's boss did not support Mr. Daddy's view on this and actually told Mr. Daddy that he shouldn't be so hard on them for not making drinks properly (or actually showing up to work on time -- oh the humanity -- but that's another story altogether!)

This used to infuriate me. See, I'm a huge proponent of excellence in customer service. Add to that the fact that I'm a very strict recipe follower and you have yourself a good old fashioned know-it-all -- me! Have you ever had a mocha with not enough mocha in it? Blech! If I'm going to pay $4+ for a coffee drink, it better damn well be the most delicious thing that ever crossed my lips, you know what I'm sayin'?

And that's another thing, Mr. Schultz. You have 7,100 stores. I know we're all about making a buck, but I think you could afford to cut the cost of your coffee just a little bit. Do you know why McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts are cutting into your market share? Because for the average American, a $2 mocha at Dunkin Donuts tastes just the same as a $4 mocha at Starbucks. I bet if you cut the price of your coffees, your profits would double because more people would buy. Heck, I could sure afford a $2 coffee more often than I can a $4 coffee.

So, go ahead, close your stores for a couple of hours. Train your baristas to make the drinks the way they were meant to made. And next time you wonder what to do? Just ask me. 'Cause I could have told you all of this four years ago.


Colleen said...

Here, here!

I totally love the iced vanilla coffee at McDonald's. Especially when I can get them off the dollar menu. hee hee!

And go Mr. Daddy for trying to have excellent customer service at his store!! We are totally lacking in that in so many places...ticks me off. Got some bad service from the dealer when I had to bring my car there. I complained when I was there and I complained when I got a call from the 3rd Party company doing a customer survey. They asked if I'd like a call from the manager and I said "yes". Never got that call! But then I went and had Cooper, so never followed up like I usually do...

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I watched a video of this story on Yahoo News and the reporter called it "expresso". I mean, if you're gonna do an in depth story? Couldn't you at least pronounce the word correctly?

Karen said...

I'm thinking my Starbucks baristas need training. Sometimes I can't taste the peppermint at all, and quite a few times there's very little mocha and too much burned-coffee taste. It *almost* makes me want to go elsewhere for coffee.

Anonymous said...

I love being right!
yessss! (air-fist punching action)

high five for you

Momma Em said...

There are four different Starbuck on my way to work and I have a favorite one. Mostly because they make the drinks way better than the other ones, but it doesn't hurt that I've become friends with one of the baristas and she always gives me a bigger size than I ordered.

Madame Queen said...

Colleen -- you sound a lot like me. But I'm afraid that customer service is dead.

Tootsie -- That is one of mine and Mr. Daddy's biggest pet peeves. Ugh!

Karen - I hear you! Hopefully Starbucks does too.

Secret Handshake -- High five!

Momma Em -- Now THAT's the kind of friend to have!

1blueshi1 said...

you should definitely bill Starbucks for your consulting fees...HEE!!!
BTW, did you and Mr. Daddy dig up any more pins to list? I am STILL telling that story to my friends and family. I mean, by now they are A.) begging me to stop, or, B.) falling asleep as soon as I start, but whatever!

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

My Starbucks (why yes, I do own it, or at least I should for as much money as I spend there), is remarkably consistent, so I was a little ticked off that they were closing yesterday. But if they want to lower the price, I'm all for it.

ImpostorMom said...

It is way overpriced but I must admit I'm guilty of having one of those "too many adjective" type orders. Once when I was pregnant my husband got it wrong and I swear he did it on purpose so he wouldn't have to get me coffee anymore. I just started writing it down instead.

We have some great locally owned alternatives here but they are pretty expensive too. I find that I like different drinks at different places. I wish I still worked downtown cause one of the shops downtown has $2 lattes on Wednesday.