When people in town are looking for a quick coffee fix or somewhere to meet up with a friend, the local Starbucks is often the first place they think of. Starbucks is well-known around the world, for everything from its standard coffee to its Pumpkin Spice Frappuccinos to its Cranberry Bliss Bars. At the same time, each local franchise has its own goals and faces individual challenges. The local Starbucks chain has also been affected by globalization, which provides both benefits and challenges for local franchises.

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The main way that globalization has benefited the local Starbucks franchise is by improving its brand name recognition. Starbucks opened its first store outside of the United States in Tokyo in 1996. Now, there are more than 24,000 stores in 70 countries (“Starbucks International Coffee”). As a result, people from all over the country and the world know what to expect in terms of products and quality when they walk into a Starbucks. For the local franchise, this means that they do not need to expend a lot of resources on general advertising. Rather, Starbucks is already an easy choice for locals and visitors to town alike, since they always know they can get the signature coffee and food products they want.

At the same time, the worldwide name recognition of Starbucks poses a challenge, since some prospective customers may view the company as a faceless, soulless corporate chain. One way that the local Starbucks tries to combat that stereotype is by providing excellent customer service. When training new employees and coaching experienced workers, the manager places a strong emphasis on engaging personally with customers. That could mean greeting regular customers by name, adding a smiley-face to a customer’s to-go cup, or walking a curious kid through the steps of preparing a Frappuccino. With these personal touches, the store will not appear to be just another outlet of a corporate giant.

The local Starbucks also sets independent goals for quality improvement, in order to ensure that it remains competitive with other cafes in town. For example, increasing the speed of service is a major goal, especially during peak hours in the morning. Customers are less likely to stick around if it takes too much time to get through the line at Starbucks, which could lead them to choose a different coffee shop. The manager also emphasizes the importance of making sure that drinks are prepared quickly during slow periods, because customers will expect to be able to get in and out quickly if they see that there is no line, and they will be disappointed if the service is too slow when there are no other patrons. Therefore, in order to ensure customers satisfaction, improving the efficiency of food and drink preparation is a major goal.

Another area in which the local Starbucks is trying to improve is its drive-thru service. According to data from 2016, Starbucks offered the slowest drive-thru service in the country. Also, it was in the bottom half for the accuracy of order preparation (Oches). For the local Starbucks to be able to compete with fast food restaurants in town, like McDonald’s and Wendy’s, it needs to increase the speed of service, and also make sure all customers’ orders are correct. Globalization has also affected the franchise’s goal of improving drive-thru service, because there is pressure to uphold the company’s reputation across the world, which means making sure that every customer has a great experience. Therefore, the franchise has set a goal of lowering the average drive-thru wait time to less than 180 seconds, which was the average for all fast food restaurants in 2013 (Horovitz).

Another independent goal of the local Starbucks is to increase sales from its food products. Right now, the bulk of the products sold at the Starbucks are drinks. However, Starbucks actually offers a wide variety of foods, and the local franchise is trying to increase sales. One strategy has been to try to get the word out about the wide range of hot breakfast and lunch options, as well as to-go bistro boxes and sandwiches, by putting up posters in the store windows. Workers also highlight meal options on the chalkboard on the counter, and they are encouraged to mention menu items to customers and offer suggestions about their favorite food products.

Also, the Starbucks franchise is looking to improve the display of pastry items on the counter and in the display case. At many cafes, including some Starbucks stores, pastries in the display case appear to be haphazardly placed, and they may look dry and unappealing after sitting out for too long. The local franchise is making sure that these products are arranged well and replaced if they lack freshness. Also, the manager is keeping close track of which pastries are the most popular, in order to make sure that they do not run out of the items that customers really want.

Although most of the day-to-day operations and goals of the local Starbucks franchise are focused primarily on improving the quality of service for customers, it is also important to consider the way that globalization is affecting local workers. Of course, it is not possible to outsource local Starbucks barista jobs to other countries, but the trend toward outsourcing has raised awareness about wage disparities in the United States and around the world. This, in turn, has driven the push for minimum wage hikes for low-level workers, and in July 2016, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that wages would go up by 5 to 15 percent (Hartung). As a result, workers at the local Starbucks are seeing higher wages.

To summarize, the local Starbucks works toward a wide range of goals for quality and service improvement every day. Some of these are related to and affected by globalization, since Starbucks is a worldwide brand name, which presents both benefits and challenges. Nevertheless, the franchise must also make sure that it stands out from local competitors. By striving to balance all of these concerns, the manager of the local Starbucks fosters business success.

  • Hartung, Adam. “JPMorgan Chase and Starbucks Minimum Wage Increases – Just Following Trends.” Forbes, 13 July 2016, https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2016/07/13/starbucks-and-jpmorganchase-minimum-wage-increases-just-following-trends/#617a0d6e6088.
  • Horovitz, Bruce. “Drive-Thru Times Slow to a Crawl.” USA Today, 6 October 2014, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/10/06/fast-food-drive-thru-times-restaurants-mcdonalds-taco-bell-wendys/16644673/.
  • Oches, Sam. “Inside Starbucks’ Drive-Thru Strategy.” QSR, October 2016, https://www.qsrmagazine.com/reports/drive-thru-2016-starbucks.
  • “Starbucks Coffee International.” Starbucks, https://www.starbucks.com/business/international-stores.