My 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 ad...do 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!).