In a culture that needs a fair amount of “get up and go” to keep up with the demands of daily life, coffee is a part of many morning routines. Of those routines that include coffee, Starbucks is often the shop of choice. An institution at this point, Starbucks has made a fortune off of providing a global caffeine buzz.
A Cup at a Time
The name Starbucks actually takes inspiration from the first mate in Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick, which is why the logo appears to be inspired by the sea. The company aims to nurture and inspire the spirit of all their customers, one cup of coffee and one neighborhood at a time.
Though the brand is obviously predicated upon coffee and coffee products, Starbucks also serves a number of food items, and also sells accoutrements like French presses, coffee cups, and other such items. With close to 23,000 locations worldwide, Starbucks has developed into a global sensation.
Coffee Hub Goes Global
When you think of a city that loves their coffee, Seattle may come to mind. This is likely due in part to the fact that Starbucks was founded there in 1971 as a place to serve unusually high quality coffee that prioritized an elevated product over speed. Given the brand’s literary title, it should come as no surprise that the three founders were all academics who created the business out of their shared love for coffee and tea.
In the next ten years, Starbucks opened three other locations in Seattle, and was beginning to gain a reputation for quality. The original founders sold the business in 1987, and the new owner brought to life the cafe environment for which Starbucks is now known.
With this new model of business, Starbucks shot off like a rocket, and became the largest coffee chain in the world. Now, the brand is present in more than a dozen countries, and their tens of thousands of locations evidence the fact that people just can’t get enough of this coffee chain.
Competition in the Caffeine Market
Starbucks is different from its competition in that it started out as an elevated coffee shop which later expanded into a more cafe-style chain that also offers food. Its two biggest threats, Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds, did just the opposite.
Despite throwing their weight behind appearing to be a more casual alternative to Starbucks, Dunkin has failed to measure up with the larger chain. McDonalds outperforms Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts by a mile, but this is due largely to the fact that they are primarily a fast food chain, not a coffee chain.
In Every Hand, On Every Corner
Starbucks does invest in a fair amount of advertising, particularly to push new products, but the reality is that they don’t necessarily need to. When you walk down the street in any major city, it’s likely only a matter of seconds before you spot someone holding a cup sporting the green siren logo.
Still, the company gains a great deal of buzz each year with their holiday cups, which have something of a cult following among coffee lovers. What’s more, the chain made headlines early in 2019 when fans thought they spotted a Starbucks cup accidentally left in the shot of a Game of Thrones Episode.
The whole ordeal turned into a PR dream come true for Starbucks, and it turned out that the coffee viewers spotted wasn’t even from the famous chain. In any case, Starbucks jumped to 121 from 132 on the 2019 Fortune 500, a testament to the brand’s continued prowess.
As long as people need coffee, Starbucks is likely to remain a cultural institution ready to serve up their caffeine fix everyday.