Tuli Can't Stop Talking

These are just my thoughts on contemporary issues and an attempt to open up a dialogue.

My Photo
Location: New York City

A citizen who cares deeply about the United States Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Say It Isn’t So!

Starbucks Coffee, Now in Instant

The World is really going to Hell in a Handbasket!

What’s next Egg McMuffins?

In Howard Schultz’s 1997 book about developing Starbucks, he wrote, “Nothing pains me more than hearing critics compare Starbucks to a chain of discount stores or fast-food operations.”

On Tuesday, the man who set out to improve Americans’ taste in coffee, unveiled instant coffee bearing the Starbucks brand. Packages of Via Ready Brew will appear in Starbucks shops in Seattle and Chicago on March 3, the same day that Starbucks will begin offering breakfast value meals in stores nationwide.

Selling instant coffee and serving value meals might sound more like the purview of an American convenience store and less like that of an Italian espresso bar. Water-soluble coffee is a gamble, marketing analysts said. It could lure customers who drink fast-food or grocery store coffee, or it could water down the Starbucks brand.

But Mr. Schultz said he was ready for the critics who say, “This is desperate, this is a Hail Mary pass, this is off-brand for Starbucks.”

“We are going to reinvent the company, reinvent the category,” he told a group of Wall Street analysts, journalists and retailers on Tuesday at a tasting of the new product in New York. “This is not your mother’s instant coffee.”

The instant coffee is available online at the company’s Web site in two varieties, Colombia and Italian Roast. Along with Seattle and Chicago Starbucks stores, Costco and Target will start selling it this spring. Starbucks will introduce it in its stores worldwide by the fall and it will be in grocery stores in 2010.

Starbucks found early success because it convinced people that coffee could be a luxury product. But that luxury has been one of the first to go as consumers cut back on spending. Sales at Starbucks stores fell 9 percent last quarter, and the company is closing 900 stores, out of roughly 16,800. The stock price has fallen 47 percent in the last year. Mr. Schultz has said he is working hard to convince customers that Starbucks is affordable. Starbucks is introducing its breakfast deals, which include $3.95 pairings like coffee cake or a ham-and-egg sandwich with coffee, in direct response to the lagging economy.

Tough Economic Times Folks!


Post a Comment

<< Home