'Tall' returns to the Starbucks drive-thru

Under fire for its menu change, the coffee giant decides to restore the option for drivers.

By Kim Peterson Sep 14, 2010 2:59PM

Credit: (© Michael Conroy/AP)
Caption: Customer in a Starbucks storeStarbucks (SBUX) has drawn fire this month for deciding to remove the 12-ounce "tall" size from its drive-through menus. Sure, you could still order a "tall" (just as you can order a "short"), but the company wasn't going to advertise that fact to drivers.

But that's going to change. Starbucks appears to have reversed that decision, giving "tall" a reprieve.

"It never left, but based on feedback, we're updating our new drive-thru menus to remind you that the Tall size is always available," the company said on its corporate Twitter account.

Oh, good. Can we all move on now? I'm sure even Starbucks was surprised at the amount of negativity a drive-through menu change received ("tall" remained on in-store menus).

"Stabucks' latest trickery," proclaimed Time magazine. "America's most famous coffee chain is trying to pull one over on us."

So Starbucks found itself in the uncomfortable position of trying to explain that it was not, in fact, being sneaky. "We did it because our customers were frustrated with the difficulty of reading our drive-through menus," a company spokeswoman told USA Today.

 

Post continues after video:

Tall sizes don't sell as well as their larger cousins, Starbucks reasoned. So in order to simplify the drive-through menu, the company removed the least-popular size. It's just a coincidence that the least-popular size also happens to be the cheapest option.

So consider the issue settled. But if you really want to talk about Starbucks pulling one over on us, consider that the company regularly gets people to fork over nearly $5 (as I recently did) for toffee mochas, pumpkin lattes and other concoctions.

Selling a $5 drink? That's the ultimate swindle.

By the way, a Starbucks in Chicago is testing e-mail ordering, The Seattle Times reports. Customers with a registered Starbucks card can send in their request and pay for it five minutes ahead of time, and when they arrive, their order should be waiting at the counter.

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