Case Study Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Exhibit I: Stock performance graph of Starbucks for past five years
  3. The Starbucks Story
  4. Starbucks – Early Days and Background Note
  5. Building of the Starbucks Brand
  6. Entry into International Markets
  7. Starbucks – Quick facts
  8. Starbucks – Timeline
  9. The Restructuring Moves
  10. Reorganization
  11. No warm breakfast sandwiches but new beverages
  12. Transforming the in-store experience
  13. Renewed customer rewards program and a social network, my
  14. Retraining Employees – The Baristas
  15. Slowing down expansion in the U.S.
  16. Job Cuts
  17. Reorganizing the Entertainment Unit
  18. Questions for discussion
  19. Exhibit II: Selected Financial Data


Case Study on Starbucks TurnaroundIntroduction

“Fiscal 2008 is a transitional year for Starbucks and, while our financial results are clearly being impacted by reduced frequency to our U.S. stores, we believe that as we continue to execute on the initiatives generated by our transformation agenda, we will reinvigorate the Starbucks Experience for our customers.”

– Howard Schultz, Chairman, President and Chief Executive, Starbucks.

Starbucks, the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in the world, has been struggling amidst a faltering economy, its own rapid growth (international expansion and growing presence in 44 countries) and increased competition from cheaper rivals. In the first three months of 2008 its net income fell to $108.7m (£54.7m) down 28% from the same period of 2007. Starbucks wants to turnaround its business by providing customers with the distinctive ‘Starbucks Experience’ and building on Starbucks legacy of innovation. As Starbucks shares have tumbled over the last year, (see exhibit I) a very important question is: Is Starbucks still the romantic coffee shop it used to be?

Starbucks has struggled to maintain its differentiation in the face of growing competition. The company had 125 stores when it went public in 1992, now has over 15,000 stores in 44 countries. Customers are simply not visiting Starbucks stores at the rate they once did. In recent times, Starbuck’s has suffered the effects of the crisis in the housing market, which has put a pinch on sales. Starbucks has also suffered from rising costs of storefront space and wholesale prices for coffee and dairy products. In the second half of last year, Starbucks’s same-store sales — a significant number watched by Wall Street — declined for the first time.

Howard Schultz (Schultz) returned in early January as Chairman and Chief Executive and announced a series of changes as part of Starbucks’s Turnaround plan. …. This management case study highlights Starbucks strategy to turnaround its business by providing customers with the distinctive ‘Starbucks Experience’ and building on the Starbucks legacy of innovation

Keywords: Starbucks, Turnaround Strategies, Corporate Restructuring, Coffee Retailing, Specialty Eateries, Howard Schultz, Baristas, retraining employees,, customer rewards program

Case Updates/Snippets

  • Starbucks “Via” the instant coffee market – In September 2009, Starbucks unveiled a brand of instant coffee called “Via” across all U.S. locations made with 100% natural roasted arabica coffee. The company believes the “ready brew” coffee will change the way people drink coffee. The global instant coffeee business is valued at $21 billion and instant coffee constitutes 40% of overall global coffee sales.
  • Starbucks CSR – Starbucks buys 40% of its coffee beans through fair trade. As its commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, the company pays a price well above the market rate to poor and small growers.
  • Coffee Drinking Trends – The National Coffee Association’s 2009 study of drinking trends revealed that a majority, more than 80% of coffee drinkers get their coffee at home and only 18% drink at work. Just 5% of respondents drink their coffee at restaurants and 10% take a cup with them during their commute.
  • Great business turnarounds – In the final three months of 2009, Starbucks posted a 4% growth in total sales and a 200% rise in profits, to $353m. In what is being seen as the one of the great turnarounds of the decade, earnings of Starbucks have jumped to 241.5 million US dollars (£149 million) in the quarter – more than three times the 64.3 million dollars (£39.7 million) seen a year earlier. In 2008, Schultz’s decision to resume the roles of CEO and President, has certainly helped the turnaround. Schultz had relinqu­ished the position in 2005.
  • In one day, Starbucks sells 8.2 million paper cups of coffee on average. Around 20 percent of Starbucks’ revenues are from International markets.(as per news reports in September 2011)

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