Are Americans Losing Their Taste for Starbucks?

Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, is losing ground with people worldwide due to the pandemic. Chicago writer Natalia Nebel, who used to frequent Starbucks, now prefers independent cafes in her Lincoln Park neighborhood over the chain. The appeal of Starbucks faded along with the pandemic, and many customers have started to feel the bite of tighter finances, making it difficult for them to continue patronizing the business.

The company’s latest earnings report shows that same-store sales in the US dropped 3% in the January through March period from a year ago. Budget-conscious consumers are shelling out less on quick-service offerings, including Starbucks, according to CEO Laxman Narasimhan. Many customers have been more exact about where and how they choose to spend their money, particularly with stimulus savings mostly spent. Starbucks’ plan to turn things around includes updating its app and mobile payment offerings, speeding up service, and overhauling its menu to lure customers back.

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz called for a “maniacal focus” on the customer experience, suggesting that the answer does not lie in data but in the stores. Starbucks should revamp its mobile ordering and payment app to “once again make it the uplifting experience it was designed to be.” Starbucks will recover, but it’s “clearly not business as usual.” Starbucks spokespersons are confident in Starbucks long-term success, but the challenges and opportunities he highlights are the ones they are focused on.

Customer experience flags in a world where seamless mobile/digital ordering and throughput are emphasized, and Starbucks should revamp its mobile ordering and payment app to “once again make it the uplifting experience it was designed to be.” Starbucks’ long history has been an experiential occasion, with consumers going in, ordering a beverage just the way they wanted it and having a nice interaction with the barista. One downside of mobile ordering is it becomes very transactional.

Both Nebel and Turner mentioned Starbucks’ strife with employees as another reason they choose not to patronize the business, although most analysts downplayed the issue. From Nebel’s perspective, a Starbucks cafe in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood that used to bustle with energy and people now has fewer patrons and a downbeat atmosphere. Starbucks and the union organizing its workers are currently in contract negotiations after a protracted battle that has the Supreme Court hearing its case challenging the authority of the National Labor Relations Board.

Starbucks offers one of the best employee value propositions (wages and benefits) in the restaurant industry, so they’re being punished for labor practices that most folks partake in. Meanwhile, headlines about Starbucks employees not being allowed to wear Black Lives Matter attire tarnished the brand for Morgan Bissett-Tessier, a 31-year-old law school student and part-time school administrator in New York. The Brooklyn resident now avoids Starbucks despite the company reversing its dress code policy on BLM.

Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, is losing ground with people worldwide due to the pandemic. Chicago writer Natalia Nebel, who used to frequent Starbucks, now prefers independent cafes in her Lincoln Park neighborhood over the chain. The appeal of Starbucks faded along with the pandemic, and many customers have started to feel the bite of tighter finances, making it difficult for them to continue patronizing the business.

The company’s latest earnings report shows that same-store sales in the US dropped 3% in the January through March period from a year ago. Budget-conscious consumers are shelling out less on quick-service offerings, including Starbucks, according to CEO Laxman Narasimhan. Many customers have been more exact about where and how they choose to spend their money, particularly with stimulus savings mostly spent. Starbucks’ plan to turn things around includes updating its app and mobile payment offerings, speeding up service, and overhauling its menu to lure customers back.

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz called for a “maniacal focus” on the customer experience, suggesting that the answer does not lie in data but in the stores. Starbucks should revamp its mobile ordering and payment app to “once again make it the uplifting experience it was designed to be.” Starbucks will recover, but it’s “clearly not business as usual.” Starbucks spokespersons are confident in Starbucks long-term success, but the challenges and opportunities he highlights are the ones they are focused on.

Customer experience flags in a world where seamless mobile/digital ordering and throughput are emphasized, and Starbucks should revamp its mobile ordering and payment app to “once again make it the uplifting experience it was designed to be.” Starbucks’ long history has been an experiential occasion, with consumers going in, ordering a beverage just the way they wanted it and having a nice interaction with the barista. One downside of mobile ordering is it becomes very transactional.

Both Nebel and Turner mentioned Starbucks’ strife with employees as another reason they choose not to patronize the business, although most analysts downplayed the issue. From Nebel’s perspective, a Starbucks cafe in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood that used to bustle with energy and people now has fewer patrons and a downbeat atmosphere. Starbucks and the union organizing its workers are currently in contract negotiations after a protracted battle that has the Supreme Court hearing its case challenging the authority of the National Labor Relations Board.

Starbucks offers one of the best employee value propositions (wages and benefits) in the restaurant industry, so they’re being punished for labor practices that most folks partake in. Meanwhile, headlines about Starbucks employees not being allowed to wear Black Lives Matter attire tarnished the brand for Morgan Bissett-Tessier, a 31-year-old law school student and part-time school administrator in New York. The Brooklyn resident now avoids Starbucks despite the company reversing its dress code policy on BLM.

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