The "Times Emit" Publishing Blog
Core Memory, by Mark Richards & John Alderman

The Starbucks Experience, by Joseph Michelli

Starbucks_experienceMy daughter hates it that I buy from Starbucks a few times each month.  She's prefer that I support one of the "local little guys", like Higher Grounds; OK, we went to Higher Grounds last night and I thoroughly enjoyed the German chocolate mocha...I'm hooked!

Nevertheless, I figured I might learn a thing or two from The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary.  It's an OK read and all, but it's mostly common sense and things you'd deduce just by frequenting one of your many local Starbucks.

The five principles are: Make It Your Own (be accountable and show ownership for every part of the job/shop), Everything Matters (similar to the first principle), Surprise & Delight (I'm not sure I've ever felt this one during any of the dozens of Starbucks visits I've made over the years), Embrace Resistance (this one must also be "happening behind the scenes" as I can't point to one instance of it either) and Leave Your Mark (social responsibility and community involvement).

The book would have you believe that every Starbucks outlet is different and tailored to the local community.  Maybe I'm not paying enough attention but they all seem very similar to me, which is part of the effectiveness of the brand.  That local joint, Higher Grounds, had a more unique feel to it than any Starbucks I've ever been in, and that includes ones in at least 10 different states.

I applaud the fact that Starbucks offers medical insurance to part-timers.  I didn't know that before I read the book.  I also didn't realize they spend more on worker training than on advertising.  Then again, I can't tell you the last time I saw a Starbucks they advertise?!

Overall, the book is an easy and fast read.  You could probably gain as much knowledge by just asking the barista a few questions while you wait for your next white chocolate mocha, which just so happened to be my favorite Starbucks drink (before my daughter shamed me into switching to Higher Ground!).


Michael A. Banks

Good review, Joe. I read the book, too, and it's exactly as you say.

I've yet to see a Starbuck's that is "tailored to the local community." I could give them suggestions on how to tailor the Cincinnati outlets.

Joseph Michelli

Thanks for taking the time to read my book, Joe. More importantly, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the your blog. I also agree with Mike's comment, Starbucks is struggling with building customization these days. Again thanks for your time. Joseph

Joseph Michelli

In the past you have kindly blogged about my book The Starbucks Experience. I appreciate the time you to review it and share your thoughts with your readership. I hope you will consider reviewing my most recent book The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. It is the only book that has been written about this amazing business that is committed to product excellence and service professionalism. Again thank you for all your assistance in the past. My best and continued great success with your blog. Joseph Michelli

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