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Business strategy: what caused the massive success of Starbucks?

Posted by Feb 8, 2018 7:00:00 AM

Imitation is the best form of flattery, world renowned marketing experts are aware of one of the best ways to become competitive: to learn from brand owners who have already earned great levels of prestige and success. Through this post, we will proceed to discuss the key points in the business strategy that shaped up the triumph of Starbucks, the global coffeehouse chain empire. We are confident this article will help you gain inspiration and generate ideas that will set you apart from the rest of your competitors.

How did Starbucks go from being a crazy, rejected idea to a globally recognized franchise? Its creator, Howard Schultz, built the success of his company on the basis of a business strategy that after many years, ended up giving birth to a revolution in the retail coffee industry.

His vision consisted on giving clients the opportunity to make decisions and gain significant control of the goods they were interested in purchasing. He wished customers could feel their participation had an impact on the outcome of their experience while, at the same time, avoiding the perception that they were mindless entities who were just paying for a product.

This, along with a series of other together meaningful factors, outlines the key elements that defined the ultimate success of Starbucks.

A business strategy dedicated to experience

Business strategy

Starbucks is not exclusively dedicated to selling delicious cups of coffee, it is a brand that captures the attention of customers by displaying other delectable goods in a laid-back and fun way. Clients get to select a variety of special items that mix remarkably well their drink of choice. Their outlets count with plenty of comfortable seating arrangements, they invite patrons to feel relaxed and have a great time while enjoying their products.

It is not a coincidence that the layout of their stores leads those clients who just arrived, to glance at those who have already placed orders and are in the process of consuming their products, having a laugh with friends or using the free Wi-Fi signal while working on their laptops. This causes customers to feel curious, encouraging them to stay inside and place an order.

This clever approach conveys a subtle but powerful message: ‘this place is definitely worth it’, ‘this looks like a joyful and positive experience’, ‘you should stay here for a while and have a great time like the rest of those customers around you’.

Starbucks presents clients with the opportunity to personalize their order by writing their name on the products they purchase, this simple detail customizes the service they are provided with and makes them feel included and at home. Businesses in the food industry should take note and add this feature to their restaurant marketing strategies as it allows consumers to have a voice and change the outcome of their dining experience. Bestow customers with the chance to add single elements from other meals, go the extra mile and hint on ‘secret menu items’. These alternatives create memorable gastronomic adventures that will keep patrons coming back.

Defined objectives

Business strategy2

Starbucks is a brand that, since its humble beginnings, knew the type of client their services were aimed at. This greatly helped the company treat customers in ways they truly appreciated, making them feel like they were part of a big family. This has been put into practice and assimilated by Starbucks as part of a robust and highly-effective business strategy.

Their marketing plans remain loyal to the essence of their enterprise, they are defined by the objectives Starbucks intends to achieve. In addition to such solid foundations, the company is quick to react and incorporate new trends without losing touch with the characteristics that make them special. They are a business that will keep the substance of their logo, colors, appearance of their stores and personality intact no matter how many changes they go through as years go by.

Howard Schultz’s vision has remained astonishingly faithful to the mission of his brand. In February 2008, he decided to close 7,100 of his Starbucks stores after realizing they had lost touch with the level of customer service they were used to provide. Even though this was a surprising and shocking event, it served to remind employees and investors about the identity and goals being actively pursued by his company.

Unique Store Design


When it comes to restaurants, most customers have a tendency to prefer getting used to small changes as opposed to variations that will affect the overall image or quality of service of a business.

Starbucks is keenly aware of this, visiting one of their stores is equal to taking a break from the outside world, so full of unpredictable and dissonant realities and getting the chance to relax in a pleasant and comfortable environment. This is a vital factor that takes into account the principles that define exceptionally effective restaurant marketing strategies.

Over the years, Starbucks has worked hard to preserve a particular identity based (without looking too closely) on the image of their interior and exterior design choices. This is a factor that creates a sense of familiarity available to each customer, regardless of the location of the store they decide to visit. Clients know there will be no surprises and that their expectations will be met in satisfactory ways.

Leadership according to the values of the brand


A key provision dictated by Starbucks demands that the core values of the company remain constant among staff members and their daily activities. One of the most important is to interact with customers showing humbleness, to treat them the way they would like to be treated.

The company also does its best to ensure synergistic relationships exist and that a high level of motivation is sustained through cooperative teamwork. It is important to avoid letting employees fall into negative routines that make them feel awkward or overwhelmed about working for a commercial entity that does not respect their needs. Store associates who love their jobs enjoy chasing common goals, these dynamics motivate them to work together and gain a valuable sense of satisfaction once those objectives have been achieved.

Starbucks is not a brand that limits itself to the implementation of highly productive marketing plans, personalized customer service is of paramount importance to them. They do not extend the reach of their promotional efforts over their most prized goals. Their values permeate their actions, a factor that has turned them into the favorite choice of millions of satisfied customers worldwide.

Learning from such successful brands reminds us to stay faithful to the ideas we hope to fulfill while we continue to make progress through challenging commercial endeavors. New trends, fads, eccentric and fleeting tendencies should not determine the course of action of companies bent of avoiding negative or undesirable scenarios.

Projects that aim to achieve the magnitude of this remarkable brand demand research, wisdom, hard work and persistence in order to overcome obstacles similar (or greater) to those they faced through their stellar career. Starbucks stands as a bright beacon that proves how achieving great success by following your principles is not an impossible task.

Feel free to contact us at Business Miami Smith, we remain enthusiastic about the creation and implementation of rewarding marketing strategies. We are prepared to set in motion fruitful plans and methodologies that will position your business on new areas of growth where the opportunities to  thrive are virtually endless.

Tags: Restaurant marketing, restaurant marketing strategies, strategies for restaurants, Business strategy, Starbucks

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