|« Thanks for the Memories, Edo Sushi||Chicago food giants cooking up new business strategies »|
Business Mon Feb 26 2007
In a memo, Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz warns of “The Commoditization of the Starbucks Experience,” citing automatic espresso machines, bagged flavor-locked coffee and, what I find interesting, the cookie cutter design of stores and the loss of the soul of the past, the Starbucks on your corner will more than likely look just like the Starbucks in Evanston or Deluth. The automatic espresso machines takes away all the art of making an espresso, just push a button and the machine does all the work. With Starbucks' 13,100 company, joint-venture and licensed outlets worldwide, approximately 360 in the Chicago area, it’s not hard to see his point. In the last 10 years, Starbucks has grown from 1,100 stores to the staggering 13,100 with plans to open even more in the coming year. I am not a big fan of the big chain coffee shops; I prefer to visit independent shops in and around Chicago, of which I’ve only scratched the surface.