Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Starbucks: The Universal Living Room

Starbucks has become the universal living room. Their stores are everywhere and if there isn't one on your block now, there will be soon.
The wildly successful chain reinvented coffee by choosing not to compromise its quality by spending money on expensive advertising campaigns. Instead, they serve up a steady stream of customized coffee drinks in an inviting, comforting, living room-like environment.

The strategy worked. The intense-tasting coffee, which comes in a wide variety of types and flavors and attracts people from diverse ethnic, income and age groups. And all of those groups are willing to shell out five bucks for a cup of coffee that, once upon a time, cost only one.

And Starbucks has star-power, too. Nicole Richie and Mary-Kate Olsen are constantly photographed sipping venti lattes, and how many times have we seen Britney Spears inhaling a grande caramel frappucino topped with whipped cream? On top of everything else, Starbucks is a style icon.

I've lived and traveled around the world, and Starbucks is there for me wherever I go. When I landed in Bangkok, Thailand last year by myself, Starbucks was the first thing I looked for, even before a taxi to get me to my hotel. When I moved to Gold Coast, Australia, Starbucks was my first destination on the bus. And when I visited Tokyo, Japan with a friend, Starbucks was the first place we looked for. It makes you feel comfortable, just like being at home.

Starbucking the movie, is a true story of a man named Winter and highly caffeinated journey to visit every Starbucks in the world. He says his drug of choice is 'caffeine'. His set his own record when he drank 28 coffees in Portland Oregon. My record is three venti drips, which is excessive in itself. Below is Winter's trailer. Starbucks truly is his universal living room.

Yours Truly, Tim

What do you think about coffee shops?
Click here for an article I wrote about coffee shops standardizing society.