business news in context, analysis with attitude

We had an email yesterday from an MNB reader who had some complaints about a Starbucks experience that did not live up to the brand promise.

Another MNB reader responded:

It's fashionable to hate on Starbuck's these days. I still remember when coffee was almost uniformly terrible - Starbuck's was the first chain to popularize the idea, nationally, that coffee should actually taste good. (The local exception in my youth was George Howell's Coffee Connection...acquired by Starbuck's.) So I think I know what Jim Swoboda must have been feeling when I woke up early to visit the Starbuck's Reserve in my Washington DC hotel lobby. And it was...underwhelming. Asking the staff behind the counter what made it a Reserve, their answer that, "Sometimes we get new coffees to try, and we have a Clover," didn't get me excited. And they were consistently out of the nitro cold-brew. When your flagship store is no better than the location down the street you should be worried.


Of course, complaining about the coffee at Starbucks doesn’t seem all that big a deal compared to the two African-American gentlemen at a Philadelphia Starbucks who appear to have been arrested for waiting-while-black. (The police were responding to a call from store staff - the fault seems to entirely rest with the employees, not the authorities.)

We had the story yesterday, promoting one MNB reader to respond:

Suggests racial bias??? It was clearly racial discrimination!

Starbucks should give these people free coffee for life along with a public apology, in my opinion.

That may be the least of what they get.
KC's View: