Starbucks Gives Free New Brew To Woo You Back
With its sales slumping and perception of the brand rapidly deteriorating into a fast-food java chain on par with McD's and Dunkin' Donuts, the Starbucks empire is desperately trying to regain its hold on the premium coffee market.
To that end, they've launched a new back-to-their-roots blend called "Pike Place Roast", which is being given away free today at thousands of stores across the U.S.
Opinions may vary greatly about the quality of 'greatness' in the once-heralded Starbucks caffeinated cup, but Howard Schultz & Co. sure know how to brew up a good PR campaign. This story is absolutely everywhere: from local media to national networks to public broadcasters like NPR. If nothing else, they've done a fabulous job of getting people to talk about the brand again, which is at least half the battle.
What's your take? Have you tried the new roast? Are you a devout Starbuckian or of the too-cool-for-frappuccino kind? What would it take for Starbucks to win you back?
Tomark the launch of its new "everyday" brew, Starbucks gave away free 8oz. cups of Pike Place Roast -- named after its first store inSeattle's famed public market -- at more than 7,000 U.S. storesbeginning at 12 p.m. Tuesday. The coffee giant hopes that the signatureblend will give its slumping sales a jolt.
Starbuckshas spent the last few months sharpening its focus on the basics - astrategy Schultz is pushing as part of the company's efforts toreinvigorate its U.S. business, which has suffered amid a soft economyand growing competition from rivals ranging from McDonald's Corp. (MCD, Fortune 500) and Dunkin' Donuts to Peet's Coffee & Tea (PEET), Caribou Coffee (CBOU) and small, independent coffee shops.
Yet Schultz bristles at any suggestion that the company's turnaround efforts are aimed at the competition.
'Not about competition.'"This is not about competition. This is about Starbucks," Schultz said."We believe that we control our own destiny, and our customers expect aquality from Starbucks that is unparalleled."
One night in lateFebruary, the company shut down most of its U.S. stores for three hoursto retrain baristas on espresso basics.
The company has alsopromised to start grinding all its brewed coffee in stores, which willbring back the pungent aroma many customers have missed since thecompany started using flavor-locked bags of pre-ground coffee years ago.
Ina bid to reinvigorate lackluster U.S. traffic, Starbucks today willintroduce a new, everyday brew called Pike Place Roast.
"It is the best coffee that we have created, maybe, in our history," CEO Howard Schultz said on a call with reporters on Monday.
Starbucks is set to begin selling a "smoother" — read: non-burnt — cup of coffee at all company-owned locations this morning. CEO Howard Schultz told the Journal the new roast is meant to "reinvent brewed coffee." Ah, so now properly roasting your beans makes you a revolutionary. That must be why the press release calls this day "historic" and the roast itself "historic." What could possibly be more hyperbolic than that? Oh, right, a brainwashed barista on StabucksGossip.com saying this will save the lives of children. I almost forgot!
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Chicago, Illinois, United States