Starbucks in Britain: No names, please
The company has changed its policy and now writes customers' names on cups. That crosses the line for some.
The British, however, are a different story. Starbucks has begun asking customers' names there in an effort to be warmer and friendlier, and some aren't thrilled by the policy change.
The controversy is brewing to the point where the BBC wonders if Starbucks should brace for a backlash. "I am not looking to make friends when I go into a coffee shop, I just want a drink," grumbles Arthur Smith, an actor in the U.K. television series "Grumpy Old Men," according to the BBC. "I want a pleasant but respectful distance between me and the person serving me coffee -- I don't want to go clubbing with them."
Hrmph. A London marketing professor chimes in that this false attempt at camaraderie can be irritating when you're quickly buying a coffee. "It's a bogus personalization of an economic relationship," Chris Hackley told the BBC. "Friendship needs to be genuine."
One Wall Street analyst discusses in the following video whether investors should dump Starbucks. He says yes.
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The complaints come as Starbucks revives its efforts in the United Kingdom, where it has 743 cafes. It wants to boost that to 1,000 in the next few years -- a big change, considering the company had a net loss of 65 U.K. stores in its 2010 fiscal year and a net gain of just 6 in 2011. In addition, it's spending nearly $13 million to overhaul its London cafes and make them more, well, British.
One of Starbucks' first moves in this new effort is to increase the caffeine in its beverages. The number of customers asking for extra shots of caffeine has risen by 60%, the Motley Fool reports, and some say Starbucks' drinks aren't as caffeinated as those made by rival Costa.
Starbucks is also unveiling coffee vending machines for the on-the-go British and serving drinks on planes and trains.
In its efforts to turn around operations in the U.S. -- something the company has done well at -- it lost some focus on a country that adores coffee and tea. That isn't to say Starbucks is foundering in the U.K. -- 743 cafes is nothing to sneeze at -- but there is definitely further room to grow. Costa Coffee easily has more than 1,000 locations in the U.K.
Starbucks is also experimenting with new strategies across Europe, and last week opened its first European concept cafe in Amsterdam. The cafe will be a testing ground for new ideas -- such as an in-house bakery. Starbucks may send out messages on Twitter when hot pastries roll out of the in-house ovens. The Amsterdam store has 16 new food items sold exclusively at that location.
Just give them your name for the order, is it really that hard? Just like when you call-in ahead for pizza you give the person taking your order your name. But no, in the world we live in today it's a "bogus personalization of an economic relationship". Give me a break...
I bet this moron also would throw a toddler snit if his fake name was misspelled.
"I am not looking to make friends when I go into a coffee shop, I just want a drink," grumbles Arthur Smith, an actor in the U.K. television series "Grumpy Old Men," according to the BBC. "I want a pleasant but respectful distance between me and the person serving me coffee -- I don't want to go clubbing with them."
Don't want to get too close to those dirty common workin' folks I guess. Sounds like a Brit.
Starbucks, in the end, should give the people what they want. If they do not want to give names, give them an order number like so many fast food places do. It would be just as effective to move the orders along...75, your caramel macchiato is up! However, I do think it is a tad silly that someone would get their panties in a twist over something like that.
I have to say Starbucks isn't a perfect company by any means but they do make a great effort at trying out new ideas and innovations.
Are these people CRAZY??!!! Who in the hell thought that Starbucks was trying to make friends or attmpting to get to know their customers by asking their name to write it on the coffee cups????!!! It's simply to identify an order!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is life that great in the United Kingdom that the folks there are resorted to thinking and complaing abut non-issues ?? If your name is a secret then give the barista a damned alias that you can remember when they call it to give you Tall Carmel whatever with extra foam !!!! Jeez
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Consumers are very status conscious in Asia, Africa and other emerging-market areas. This is especially true in China.
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