Uncle Howard Wakes Up, Smells Coffee

Schultz is back! In the year since Uncle Howard stepped aside from his day job (running Starbucks) to spend time on sexy stuff like movies and music and yogurt, the company’s stock price dropped by half. Not good for an outfit that claims to be the world’s most popular retailer. Worse, customers started complaining.

Okay, with tens of thousands of employees, most of them part-timers, responsible for customer satisfaction, you can’t get it right every time. But the premium coffee biz that Starbucks created has become competitive as hell, and those customers have plenty of choices. Schultzie decided that his hand-picked successor as company prez, Jim Donald, wasn’t paying enough attention.

(Not that Schultzie’s been all that responsive himself, selling off the Sonics to a bunch of right-wing investors from Oklahoma. What kind of hometown loyalty does that show your Seattle customers?)

Now, there are plenty of heart-warming Starbucks stories, none more uplifting than Michael Gates Gill’s How Starbucks Saved My Life. But that’s beside the point. The 800-pound gorilla of fast-food retailing, McDonald’s, is about to get serious about the coffee game, hiring and training hundreds of baristas to staff new espresso bars.

Gulp! One thing’s for sure: Schultzie ain’t lovin it.

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One response to “Uncle Howard Wakes Up, Smells Coffee

  1. Does anyone really think that $1 cup of coffee at Starbucks is anything but way for Howard to make a splash as he comes back from retirement?

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