Monday, December 24, 2007

Free Cup of Starbucks Coffee

Even though their stock is in the crapper this year (my one bad pick of 2007 amidst a number of good and/or lucky picks), Starbucks is still a store and a brand that I enjoy.

A company as highly standardized as Starbucks should seek to eliminate as many variables as possible. Customers expect drinks to taste a certain way every time. Ordering procedures at a store in Kansas City should be identical to those in Vermont.

What I don't understand, however, is their inconsistency in terms of the free cup of coffee when buying a pound of beans.

I have purchased a bag of coffee beans from a number of different Starbucks locations, and about two-thirds of the time, I am told that I am welcome to a free cup of coffee.
The other third is the inconsistency. I have had some store baristas mention nothing about the free cup, and charge me for the tall coffee after I order it, while others (such as today), didn't offer the free cup, but after ordering it, did not charge me, nor acknowledge that it was complimentary.

I think that this is a nice value-add for Starbucks, and should be marketed as such. What good is giving out free coffee if it's done inconsistently and without fanfare. If there were signs in the store promoting the free cup, or if the baristas made more of a spectacle over the free cup when a customer buys a pound of beans, I bet that sales of coffee beans would improve. A simple "your coffee beans come with a free cup of coffee," said audibly so the rest of the customers in line hear it, should suffice.

Similar but related, as I sauntered over to the condiment bar, I waited for another lady to finish using the Half-and-Half. I wanted to put a splash of it in my free tall Christmas Blend coffee. She had a venti coffee (their largest size), poured half of it into the trash so the cup was half-full, and proceeded to mix the remaining coffee with, literally, half a cup of Half-and-Half.

Perhaps she was headed home to eat a Crisco sandwich for lunch, and needed an equally unhealthy drink to wash it down.

1 comment:

r. said...

you should have told her that she needs to ask for room... that way she doesn't have to burn her little fingers and they will be ready for the cheese curls when she gets home!