Fixing The Starbucks Experience

It’s no surprise that I have been a Starbucks Junkie since the day they opened their doors in Kuwait. As a matter of fact, I’m not addicted to coffee as much I am addicted to Starbucks, and I am pretty sure there are many people who are bucks addicts as well. However, in spite of all of that, even I assert that Starbucks isn’t the best coffee shop ever. There are quite a few things that deprive Starbucks from achieving its acclaimed experience, and I’d like to discuss those issues. Bear in mind that this is not a rant but more like a friendly criticism from a long time fan. Also, note that these issues are based on my current experiences in the US, not Kuwait.

  • Good Food For The Good People

Aside from its generous assortment of muffins, I would never ever buy food from a Starbucks store. Their sandwiches are dull and expensive, and their cakes are so dry that I almost finish my beverage out of thirst. Sure, many people don’t go to Starbucks to grab a bite but sometimes it becomes unenviable to get something to eat after spending the day there cramming for an exam. Instead of serving already-made cold sandwiches, Starbucks can spicy it up a notch by supplying its menu with hot bagels, Panini sandwiches, and variety of cheesecake. That way, Starbucks can even compete with Einstein’s Bros and Panera Bread in the bakery-café industry.

  • Tea Lovers Demand Some Love

The choices of tea that Starbucks offer are pretty pathetic. They lack broad selection of tea that other coffeehouse chains offer such as Pete’s Coffee & Tea and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and that really hurts the competition. How about offering some tea lattes for a change?

  • The Perfect Roast

Yes, Starbucks routinely over-roasts-but they don’t over-roast well. Their roasting needs to be adjusted to fit the more sophisticated palates people now have. People want to taste coffee, not just roast. Customers also want their beans to be freshly ground seconds before brewing a pot of coffee, not pre-ground before delivery, or ground in the morning to last the entire day. Fresh roast can really work wonders, so roast it up will ya!

  • Squeeze Me Some Orange

Almost every small coffee house I visit in the US, they serve freshly squeeze orange juice that is instantly ready for pick-up. Some people like to have a “citrusy” flavor in the morning along with their cold sandwich. I am not asking for a Jamba Juice, all I want is some orange for those of us who are vitamin C deprived.

Well, that’s pretty much I can think of right now. How about you? Is there anything you would like to change or improve for a better Starbucks experience?

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17 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Shobee on April 11, 2008 at 4:19 am

    well , you were comparing it with small cafes and what not, i dont think its comparable. This other cafes have a charm of their own, they need to be different, its what keeps them going.

    As much as I love Starbucks, I have to agree with all the points you put on there. Recently here in UK, they introduced there fruit toasts/teacakes. Its expensive, by normal standards, but oh well…. we already know that. I never have sandwiches or whatever in Starbucks cos its not worth the taste, and only ever settle for coffee and the occasional croissants.

    Starbucks is just another “mass” – orientated cafe isnt it? Dont make no difference. Starbucks is just another designer brand to me to be honest 🙂

    Reply

  2. YES YES !

    The foooood !
    7aram 3alaihom !! Sometimes i eat it cuz i HAVE to !
    Since im not a coffee person, but i still find myself going to STarbucks cuz i like their atmosphere for a quick meet up with a friend or some studying….BUT….i hate their food so much that i make a point of not going their on an empty stomach….eat b4…always…..so if they improve their food, they can be sure that theyre gonna have 10 times better business.

    Reply

  3. I disagree about foods – in the US, anyway. They have things you never get here – their cranberry breads, their gingerbread (drool) and I like their breakfast sandwich, with the ham and egg and cheese.

    I just wish Starbucks here (Kuwait) had more drive-throughs. I don’t want to park and go in. I want to stay (cool) (dry) ( warm) (take your pick! I want to stay in my car!)

    And I DON’T want Starbucks employees trying to sell me more stuff. Actually, I buy Starbucks stuff anyway, sometimes I can find great gifts, but I HATE being pushed to buy things by overeager staff.

    Reply

  4. Posted by greyshorts on April 11, 2008 at 7:58 am

    You covered it all but yes please a starbucks drive through it just keeps getting hotter .

    Reply

  5. I was a starbucks addict one day, I quit. I realized after sometime it’s not that special.

    Reply

  6. Fresh ground is very important, Costa is doing it, pret a manger is doing it, Starbucks better watch out.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Sushi on April 11, 2008 at 9:43 am

    I can’t bother to drive somewhere else to get my morning coffee so I just go to *bucks. I totally agree on the tea selection.

    Reply

  8. Jamba Juice > Everything Else!!! Very Berry Strawberry! We used to have on in our University, it was damn good!

    Reply

  9. I disagree with intlxpatr about it having a good selection of foods in the US. The only edible thing they serve is the low-fat chicken bruschetta.

    I just want more couches :-p

    Reply

  10. Posted by brightlightz on April 11, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    You really put a lot of thought into that! It’s such a shame the food is not so great in Kuwait. It’s not to die for here (in Bahrain) either but its not so bad either. It complements the coffee nicely! Thus good food when you need something light and on the go.

    Reply

  11. Most of those points are so true and I can’t assert any more on Intl Xpatr point “Stop pushing things to sell” I go there to get my coffee packs for my coffee and their staff keep offering coffee pressers, mugs and other types of coffee beans all the time and on every single time I turn them down, guys pick up the hints, I’m there on a mission to get my beans pack, no need to cross-sell a regular customer who you know in advance that he won’t buy those items!!

    And as for the food, who wants to eat anything from there, I mean it’s not made for human as far as I think. At first they used to have marvelous phenomenal cakes which I had to eat on a daily basis but it seems they got greedy and stopped dealing with Lorenzo and hired their own chef for bakery, from that day their sweets started to taste like ashes & mud.

    A drive-thru is a real need, the only Starbucks I’ve seen with a drive-thru is at Shuwaikh industrial area and till this day I have no idea why they chose that particular branch to launch the service!!

    Reply

  12. Posted by Q80 In Denver on April 12, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    I can’t believe Starbucks started in the states!! U.S Starbucks is just awful ! The food is very limited and very disappointed .. the drinks .. oooh the drinks .. try to buy cappuccino and latte and tell me the difference !!! they are using very low quality coffee that smells !! back in q8 is WAY better than the states .. better tasting coffee, good selections of sandwiches, croissants, and great tasting cakes! If u wanna get back to coffee roots, then Pete’s coffee and tea is that place without a doubt!

    Reply

  13. Starbucks is really over rated, other places have much better coffee, but one thing I used to have in starbucks in the states was their lessfat cinnamon coffee cake, I also like thier Toffee nut latte .. but since its only in q8 for 1 month. Thats the only time I drink *bux.

    Reply

  14. @Shobee

    Hmm, you do have a point there but I don’t see any compelling reason that Starbucks shouldn’t adapt some stuff from those small cafe houses.

    @Baroque

    Ditto!

    @Delicately Realistic

    I agree with you. It seems their business department ain’t doing something.

    @Intlxpatr

    Actually, most of my issues are based on the ones in the US. Although, your area/state might have better branches in terms of food.

    I agree wholeheartedly about the drive-through. Let’s hope they introduce this idea to the US branches as well.

    @Greyshorts

    Let’s hope they do that.

    @Big Pearls

    Then what’s your favorite coffee shop since then?

    @Don Veto

    Excellent example. I do indeed remember Costa having a better taste in terms of coffee.

    @Sushi

    Yeah, I bet the British expats aren’t a big Starbucks at all LOL 😛

    @Marzouq

    OMG Marzouq! I always order Very Berry Strawberry, it really hits the spot during hots days of the summer. We actually have one in our food court.

    @Adorra

    Yeah, some branches have more couches than other so you might one to search for one of those big Starbucks.

    @BrightLightz

    Well, the issues are listed are US-based but it seems from the comments here, the Kuwaiti branches aren’t hot either.

    @Touche

    I know what you mean about the stuff they constantly pressure you to buy but actually I kinda like their CD selections. Yes, we need more drive-throughs…they are pretty nifty when you are in a hurry.

    @Q80 In Denver

    Same here buddy. Too bad we don’t have too many Pete’s coffee and tea in my area. Seattle’s Best Coffee is a nice alternative as well.

    @Chrip

    I never tried Toffee N Latte. I better try one of those ASPA!

    Reply

  15. Posted by Jaque on October 16, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    I’ive been a Starbucks employee for about two years now in Canada, and I think the sandwiches and other cold foods are actually pretty tasty; especially the Thai Tuna Wrap and Frozen Strawberry Yogurt. Their cakes and muffins are moist, not dry. But i guess it’s all about location. At least here you can have whatever kind of tea latte you want from calm to passion to green tea.

    Reply

  16. Posted by Bncy on December 3, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    I like their food, but around my area, they’re always out, so its rare when i get to grab something to eat there.

    Reply

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