I’m not normally into reviewing businesses on my blog, but … coffee (without anything added to it) is caffiene free, so I’ll pretend that I’m giving some diet tips …
Anyway, lately I’ve been pretty frustrated with my Starbucks experiences. The name Starbucks used to mean a high quality experience to me, well worth the $3-5 per drink and over priced snacks. I enjoyed the atmosphere, the music, and most importantly, the quality of the food! My personal favorite was the hot spiced apple caramel cider. That stuff used to be amazing … but not lately. The last three (different) Starbucks I have gotten it at used bottles of Mott’s Apple Juice. Juice?!? If I’m paying four bucks for a drink, they can at least use cider, you know, like what’s in the name! It really ruins the flavor and experience. On top of that, the last couple times we’ve bought cookies for the kids. $1.89 each. Ouch. But it quiets ’em down for a while, so it’s worth it … if the cookies are free. I had been noticing that they didn’t seem soft or even remotely like they had been baked that day, but I didn’t think too much of it until last time … when the barista actually pulled out a bunch of individually wrapped cookies and started breaking ’em open for us.
Seriously? Pre-packaged cookies for $1.89? Fresh cookies aren’t that hard to do; my mom owns a coffee shop. We have bags of frozen cookie dough in the back, and a special cookie oven under the counter. We can bake 18 at a time in about twenty minutes – they taste awesome and are worth the cost.
Here’s what I think is happening; Starbucks got huge based on a high quality experience replicated across the country. People go because they know what to expect. But now they’re cutting costs to make more and more money. Apple juice instead of cider because it’s cheaper and has a longer shelf life. Prepackaged cookies instead of fresh because they are cheaper, less labor on site and last forever. Steaming the same milk over in over in the same containers instead of rinsing them because it saves labor efforts. Making two shots at a time to save time … and then leaving the extra sitting there until the next order comes along (someone trained at a Starbucks told me that one). Are they really trying to become the McDonalds of coffee shops? Sure, they’re everywhere … but they’re going to lose their reputation of quality. I know I’m done!