From the logos thread: what do people think about Starbuck's

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Augusto86, Apr 29, 2006.

  1. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Senior member

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    I don't object that much to the quality of Starbucks coffee. I will drink it if no good independent can be found. I hate the way they push out independent places, though, and that makes me avoid them whenever possible.
    Ah, and here I enter. How, exactly, do they push out other competition? In the other thread SGladwell posted this:
    And actually, Bob, a lot of what they're doing is the moral equivalent of "torching their competitor's shops." Starbucks' SOP is to open a new coffee shop right next to an established local competitor. And then another, and then another, until the local guy cries uncle. Then SB will close one or two of their stores, just enough to keep the market as oversaturated as TS describes. That very nearly happened to my favorite place to buy coffee in Altanta, Aurora Coffee in Little Five Points.
    This is just competition isn't it? We have heard many times that Starbucks is (i) more expensive than other shops (ii) of lower quality than other shops. So if customers choose to go to their stores, how can you blame Starbucks? bob
     


  2. tangerine

    tangerine Senior member

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    No kidding, didn't realize they had a presence in the States. Segafreddo is as ubiquitous in Germany as Starbucks is in the US; IME the coffee is no better.

    Tom


    I have had coffee at the Segafredo in the Westfield Shopping Center (where Nordstrom is). I don't know if that's the same one Andrew is talking about. It was not good. My sense is that the employees were undertrained and underpaid and didn't keep the espresso machines clean and in good working order.
     


  3. tangerine

    tangerine Senior member

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    Ah, and here I enter. How, exactly, do they push out other competition?

    In the other thread SGladwell posted this:



    This is just competition isn't it? We have heard many times that Starbucks is

    (i) more expensive than other shops
    (ii) of lower quality than other shops.

    So if customers choose to go to their stores, how can you blame Starbucks?

    bob


    Microsoft "just competes" with other operating systems, but they have managed to eliminate many of their other competitors from the market. Some people have argued successfully that they manipulated the marketplace illegally. I'm not saying Starbucks does this, I'm just saying that the "just competes" argument is frail.

    Here's an anecdote. I live in North Beach, San Francisco's Little Italy. We have a number of Italian family-owned and operated cafes. Starbucks has repeatedly tried to move into the neighborhood and been repelled by our activism. North Beach is a popular tourist area. Last year I saw a family walking up the main drag. From a block away I could see they were from somewhere in the American midwest. As I was passing them, they were peering into the different cafes, and one woman said, "where is there a Starbucks around here?"

    The point is that as one brand gains domination of the marketplace, other brands are unable to fairly compete because there is a "critical mass" of trust and acceptance that takes place. I am sure that anyone with an MBA could explain this much better than I am.

    In other neighborhoods, where there used to be other local coffeeshops and smaller local chains, Starbucks has completely taken over using the mechanism previously described by SGladwell. Most neighborhoods only feature Starbucks now.

    Hmm... Microbucks. Starsoft. The new corporate behemoth out of Seattle. j, Fok, I think you've found your new sponsor.
     


  4. j

    j (stands for Jerk) Admin

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    Hmm... Microbucks. Starsoft. The new corporate behemoth out of Seattle. j, Fok, I think you've found your new sponsor.

    Who do you think pays for Slim's Apple rants? [​IMG]
     


  5. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Senior member

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    From Top5.com:

    The Top 5 Signs You're a Starbucks Addict


    5> Your kids' names: Verona, Sumatra, Breakfast Blend and
    lil' Frappy.

    4> Your Green Apron Gang does a drive-by on the neighborhood
    Tully's.

    3> Your blood type is mocha java.

    2> You attempt to check yourself into the Sanka wing of the
    Juan Valdez House for rehab.


    and Topfive.com's Number 1 Sign You're a Starbucks Addict...


    1> You've collected enough of those heat-protector cardboard
    sleeves to make your own Space Shuttle.
     


  6. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Senior member

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    Well, then, that's faulty advertising right there. Didn't know about the Starbuck's connection. Seems odd, as this is like Starbucks saying, "we don't really have the best coffee, but you can find the best coffee at our other store."


    Just a smart move keeping a brand name that people love--before it was Seattle's Best Coffee it was Stewart Brothers' Coffee, a very popular brand. Isn't that right Slim?


    bob
     


  7. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Senior member

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    Microsoft "just competes" with other operating systems, but they have managed to eliminate many of their other competitors from the market. Some people have argued successfully that they manipulated the marketplace illegally. I'm not saying Starbucks does this, I'm just saying that the "just competes" argument is frail.

    This is a far too simplistic a comparison. Microsoft was shown in court to have violated our antitrust laws by partipicating in unfair business practices.

    In order to say the same about Starbucks we must have some proof, or, heaven forbid, a clear thesis of what they did. What actions have they taken to "unfairly" drive out competition? Have they participated in predatory pricing--artifically lowering prices to force competition into bankruptcy and then buying their assets so they cannot re-enter? Clearly that isn't happening if they are more expensive. Have they somehow tied their product to some other necessity of the coffee-consuming experience that then kept a competitor out? No such thing. One need not buy Starbuck's to enjoy coffee--you don't have to buy the coffee or the mugs or coffee makers they sell.

    Here's an anecdote. I live in North Beach, San Francisco's Little Italy...As I was passing them, they were peering into the different cafes, and one woman said, "where is there a Starbucks around here?"

    Who cares? Sure, you can accuse the poor rubes of bad taste, but you can't accuse Starbuck's of illegally or "unfairly" driving out the competition simply because these people like their product (or are familiar with it and fear new coffee).

    The point is that as one brand gains domination of the marketplace, other brands are unable to fairly compete because there is a "critical mass" of trust and acceptance that takes place. I am sure that anyone with an MBA could explain this much better than I am.

    Fairly? That is your problem. What does it mean? Can you open your own coffee shop if you want? Sure, you simply need the space, a permit from the health dept, the equipment, and workers. Starbuck's cannot stop you. The previous thread clearly came to the conclusion that Starbucks makes an inferior product and they sell it at a higher price. If people choose to buy that product because of good marketing or simply because they have what you think is bad taste, is not "unfair" in any way. It's shitty ol' life and your coffee shop will close. Generating that critical mass of trust and acceptance is exactly the point of competition.

    In other neighborhoods, where there used to be other local coffeeshops and smaller local chains, Starbucks has completely taken over using the mechanism previously described by SGladwell. Most neighborhoods only feature Starbucks now.

    But there is no "mechanism" described by Gladwell aside from opening stores. That's the way the economy works.

    Look, I lament the loss of single-owner coffee shops and other shops as much as anyone, but I also frequent them when I can. If they leave because not enough people felt like me, well, I have to find a new cup of coffee. Here's my anecdote (which in the end is just as worthless as yours): Here in Annapolis, Starbucks is about to open a shop in the historic district. There are three other shops within an easy walk. I would bet my left leg that none of them will close because of Starbucks. Why? The local community alone can sustain the local shops. They are very well liked. Will tourists go to Starbucks? Probably, but they'll still go to the local shops too. What does that prove? Not much, other than having a loyal enough and large enough customer base will ensure your survival.

    bob
     


  8. tangerine

    tangerine Senior member

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    Bob, I don't think you understood my original remarks.

    Before Starbucks took over the market - fairly or unfairly, legally or illegally - there were many cafes. Independents, small chains, national chains.

    Where these cafes existed, there are now Starbucks or empty buildings.

    Sure, maybe that's how free enterprise works.

    My feeling is that I hate that this has happened, and I am of the opinion that Starbucks business practices are the textbook definition of predatory.

    I think SGladwell did describe a modus operandum, but if you disagree, that is your opinion and you are entitled to it.

    If you don't like me to call it Starbucks "pushing out" other vendors, that's just shitty ol' life, I guess.

    For the record, I never claimed that Starbucks coffee was bad or overpriced. I thought Torrefazione's coffee was much better, but it was also more expensive, as is the Illy coffee I drink at my preferred cafe.

    Enjoy your coffee. [​IMG]
     


  9. SGladwell

    SGladwell Senior member

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    This is just competition isn't it? We have heard many times that Starbucks is

    (i) more expensive than other shops
    (ii) of lower quality than other shops.

    So if customers choose to go to their stores, how can you blame Starbucks?

    bob


    In light of the Vass/globalization thread, your point is well taken. In retrospect I think I let my appreciation of good coffee get ahead of broader principles. [​IMG]
     


  10. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim In Time Out

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    Just a smart move keeping a brand name that people love--before it was Seattle's Best Coffee it was Stewart Brothers' Coffee, a very popular brand. Isn't that right Slim? bob
    And before that, it was The Wet Whisker. Of course, thats before I was born. And I don't think anyone was too broken up when it changed names... Starbucks didn't buy it until the mid-90's IMMSMC. If you can't beat em, buy em. [​IMG]
     


  11. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim In Time Out

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    Who do you think pays for Slim's Apple rants? [​IMG]
    The chain letter said that if I forwarded it, Bill Gates would give me some money. I'm still waiting...
     


  12. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    I don't think Starbucks competes unfairly. Leveraging a successful brand is not "unfair". I blame the tasteless rubes that frequent their establishments. Honestly, I wouldn't want these rubes to be at my independent shops anyway.
     


  13. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Senior member

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    Bob, I don't think you understood my original remarks.

    Before Starbucks took over the market - fairly or unfairly, legally or illegally - there were many cafes. Independents, small chains, national chains.

    Where these cafes existed, there are now Starbucks or empty buildings.

    My feeling is that I hate that this has happened...


    And I agree with you 100% on this. I also like the small independent sellers. It is tiring seeing only one brand, whether it's coffee or something else.



    ...and I am of the opinion that Starbucks business practices are the textbook definition of predatory.

    And this is all I have a problem with. Sorry, I'm an economist and I like things very well defined, and I like the emotion left out of the argument. But their practices are not "predatory" according to its definition.

    Is it predatory, in the every-day meaning of the word, that they "go after" other competitors--sure, they'd be foolish to not. Now, maybe for you and others that means we need a different view of what "competition" means and and what should or should not be allowed. That's fair enough, we can have a good debate about that. [Although I'm not sure I have the energy--my semester's almost over.]


    For the record, I never claimed that Starbucks coffee was bad or overpriced.

    I didn't mean you in particular, just that in the other thread that seemed to be the overwhelming opinion. I only drink their soy lattes and they're usually okay. Once in a while they aren't. I'm not terribly broken up over it because I would just as soon drink my sugar free Gen Foods International Coffee French Vanilla instant stuff. OH THE HERESY! [​IMG]


    Gads I'm tired. I got myself way too worked-up over this. Sorry. I just can't leave these sorts of discussions alone. It always strikes a nerve. I'll do better.

    bob
     


  14. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Senior member

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    In light of the Vass/globalization thread, your point is well taken. In retrospect I think I let my appreciation of good coffee get ahead of broader principles. [​IMG]

    Hmm, another reference to this thread. It seems to have generated quite the controversy and I had no idea it was happening. I must not have been in a shoe mood (how can that be?) when it started so never noticed.

    bob
     


  15. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Senior member

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    And before that, it was The Wet Whisker. Of course, thats before I was born. And I don't think anyone was too broken up when it changed names...

    Starbucks didn't buy it until the mid-90's IMMSMC. If you can't beat em, buy em. [​IMG]


    Yeah, I remember getting SBC (Stewart's) when I was in college so that must be right.

    I think that loss made alot of people go over to Tully's. And for those who know what I'm talking about, that big green T is no replacement for the big red R that used to be there.

    bob
     


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