SEATTLE, Washington - Starbucks Gossip is reporting on the announcement of the Q1 numbers for Charbucks. For one thing, it featured CEO Howard Schultz spouting platitudes that could have been spoken at the quarterly announcement of any public company in the country - "focus on building a long-term model to realize our transformation agenda", "laser focused on delivering what our customers want and expect", "optimize our resources", etc.
In addition, Schultz is again making noises about the Starbucks Experience, meaning the aroma, the music, he comfy feel, and so on. He thinks the store is losing its focus on coffee, and one of the first steps in restoring that focus is the announcement that Charbucks will stop selling warmed breakfast sandwiches.
When Schultz began talking up the Experience a year ago, he got thrashed by Bill Saporito of Time magazine. Manhattanite Saporito does not want an Experience, he wants faster delivery of the drinks:
It's not the atmosphere, Howard. It's your incompetence. Or at least that of the executives who work for you at your way too laid-back HQ. You're talking atmosphere when you should be talking about front-end operations. Instead, in my Starbucks we have the morning chaos, the lines stretching all the way to the ludicrously heavy doors, a drill duplicated at the coffee hour of 4 p.m., where they've mastered the art of have exactly one less person on hand than needed.
You don't need more ambiance, you need more throughput. More machines, more sales terminals. You want us to smell the coffee, just grind some. In the meantime, we're waiting.
This is a problem for Charbucks. You can shoot for having a neighborhood vibe, or you can shoot for ruthless in-store operations; it is a challenge for a massive corporation with over 10,000 locations to try to be both, or to be one thing in some locations and another thing in other locations.