Case Study Analysis of Starbucks Corporation

Essay add: 18-03-2016, 10:47   /   Views: 65

I. Case Profile/ Company History

Three Seattle entrepreneurs started the Starbucks Corporation in 1971. Their prime product was the selling of whole bean coffee in one Seattle store. By 1982, this business had grown tremendously into five stores selling the coffee beans, a roasting facility, and a wholesale business for local restaurants. Howard Schultz, a marketer, was recruited to be the manager of retail and marketing. He brought new ideas to the owners, but was turned down. Schultz in turn opened his own coffee bar in 1986 based on Italian coffee cafes, selling brewed Starbucks coffee. By 1987, Schultz had expanded to three coffee bars and bought Starbucks from the original owners for $4 million. He changed the name of his coffee bars from Il Giornale to Starbucks. His intention for the company was to grow slowly with a very solid foundation. He wanted to create a top-notch management by wooing top executives from other well-known corporations. For the first two years, Starbucks losses doubled as overhead and operating expenses increased with Starbucks' expansion. Schultz stood his ground and did not sacrifice long term integrity and values for short-term profit. By 1991, Starbucks' sales increased by 84% and the company was out of debt. Starbucks grew to 26 stores by 1988. By 1996 it grew to 870 stores with plans to open 2000 stores by the year 2000.

II. Situational Analysis

Strategic Analysis

Business Level-Strategy:

The business strategy of Starbucks' is identical to the corporate level strategy since the company is a single business company, focusing on only coffee-related products and retail stores.

Corporate Level-Strategy:

Starbucks corporate strategy has been to establish itself as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world, while maintaining their uncompromised principles as the grow. The firm principles of the company are seen with its maintenance of a great and proven work environment for every staff member in its retail stores. It upholds diversity and promises the highest standards for its products. The company satisfies customers and gives back to the community and the environment. Also, Starbucks persists to be profitable and it is. They live by a strict, slow growth policy completely dominating a market before setting its sights further abroad. This strategy has gained them the advantage of being one of the fastest growing companies in the country.

Structure and Control Systems:

Starbucks believes that their employees are one of their important assets in that their only sustainable advantage is the quality of their workforce. They have accomplished building a national retail company by creating pride in the labor produced through an empowering corporate culture, exceptional employee benefits, and employee stock ownership programs. The culture towards employees is laid back and supportive. Employees are empowered by management to make decisions without management referral and are encouraged to think of themselves as a part of the business. Management stands behind these decisions. Starbucks has avoided a hierarchical organizational structure and has no formal organizational chart. The company has both functional and product based divisions. There is some overlap in these divisions with some employees reporting to two division heads.

III. SWOT Analysis

Starbucks has become a well-known company for selling the highest quality coffee beans and best tasting coffee products. It was one of the first companies to realize that the real money to be made was in beverage retailing, not just coffee beans. Starbucks created a coffee for the coffee connoisseurs and go to great lengths to acquire only the highest quality of coffee beans. They have set new precedence by outbidding the European buyers for an exclusive crop of coffee beans, which produces one of the best coffees in the world. Roasters of Starbucks coffees are extensively trained for one year. Starbucks has the distinction of being the public's educator on Expresso. They have also recently started to expand to packaged and prepared tea in response to the growing demand for this product. There are no other national coffee bar competitors in the same scale as Starbucks. Starbucks is the only competitor in the coffee bar market that has a recognized brand image. The difference between Starbucks and other coffeehouses is that they own all their stores and do not franchise. Starbucks stores operates in most metropolitan areas of the United States and also has a direct mail business to serve customers in every state. They have introduced gourmet flavored decaffeinated coffees as well as specialty flavors and whole bean coffees for the faithful coffee drinkers. They have also added light lunch fare to their menu. Starbucks had recently expanded its emphasis internationally. There are opportunities waiting in possible joint ventures with other corporations to design new product associations with Starbucks' coffee.

Although Starbucks has enjoyed tremendous success in the past few years, there are a few obstacles looming. Since the popularity of the coffee house idea has grown, some cities wish to issue regulations on the coffeehouses due to complaints of late night patrons becoming uncontrollable. The cost of coffee beans is expected to rise in the future due to lower supply, which may tighten the margins on coffee merchants. The higher costs have cut into markets, which have heightened the competition in a crowded market. There is an enthusiasm of health consciousness growing in the United States. People are cutting down on caffeine but the consumption of decaffeinated coffee has not seen an increase. Although Starbucks does not have major national competitors, they do have regional ones. Tourists become confused when ordering, since they cannot simply order a cup of coffee. Although Starbucks is interested in gaining recognition and growth in Europe, they will not be pioneers in the European coffee market as they were in the United States.

Internal Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths Weaknesses

Brand name recognition Non-pioneer in global market

Quality Products Narrow Product line

Potential Internal Strengths Complicated Products

Good Marketing Skills

Well Developed Corporate strategy


Visionary leader


Manufacturing competencies

Exclusive marketing rights

Environmental Opportunities and Threats

Opportunities Threats

Expand into Foreign Markets Change in consumer tastes

Widen Product Range City regulations

Diversify into new Growth Businesses Increase in domestic competition

Apply brand name capital in new areas Changes in economic factors

Downturn in economy

IV. Recommendation Analysis

Starbucks has become a great successful company in the coffee bean and beverage business and its strategy has been very effective. From the beginning, Schultz, the company's owner, has professed a strict, slow growing policy. He feels it is also important to keep all the stores company owned to improve and grow the business further. To further grow, Starbucks will need to expand further in other areas of the United States as well as internationally. Future joint ventures will expand the products into grocery and convenience store shelves through bottled beverages and ice cream flavors. Other joint ventures will allow further expansion into the brewery business, which will produce beer with Starbucks' coffee beans. Other partnerships will bring new products for Starbucks, such as jazz CDs, and tandem units with bagel bakeries. As the company expands, the culture and corporate strategy must be maintained for success. This will ensure the health of the organization throughout any future expansion.



Wake up and smell the coffee -- Starbucks is everywhere. The US's #1 specialty coffee retailer, Starbucks operates nearly 4,000 coffee shops in a variety of locations (office buildings, shopping centers, airport terminals, supermarkets) in some 20 countries worldwide. Starbucks sells coffee drinks and beans, pastries, and other food items and beverages, as well as mugs, coffeemakers, coffee grinders, and storage containers. The company also sells its beans to restaurants, businesses, airlines, and hotels, and it offers mail-order and online catalogs. Starbucks has expanded into coffee ice cream (with Dreyer's) and makes Frappuccino, a bottled coffee drink (with PepsiCo).

Starbucks Corporation


Sector: Consumer/Non-Cyclical

Industry: Food Processing


Starbucks Corporation purchases and roasts high quality whole bean coffees and sells them, along with fresh, rich-brewed coffees, Italian-style espresso beverages, cold blended beverages, a variety of pastries and confections, coffee-related accessories and equipment, and a line of premium teas, primarily through its Company-operated retail stores. In addition to sales through its Company-operated retail stores, Starbucks sells coffee and tea products through other channels of distribution (specialty operations). Starbucks, through its joint venture partnerships, also produces and sells bottled Frappuccino coffee drink and a line of premium ice creams. The Company's objective is to establish Starbucks as the most recognized and respected brand in the world.

Company-Operated Retail Stores

As of the fiscal year ended October 1, 2000, Starbucks had 2,619 Company-operated stores in 34 states, the District of Columbia and five Canadian provinces (which comprise the Company-operated North American retail operations), as well as the United Kingdom, Thailand and Australia (which comprise the Company-operated international retail operations). Company-operated retail stores accounted for approximately 84% of net revenues during fiscal 2000. All Starbucks stores offer a choice of regular and decaffeinated coffee beverages, including at least one "coffee of the day," a broad selection of Italian-style espresso beverages, cold blended beverages, a selection of teas and distinctively packaged, roasted whole bean coffees. Starbucks stores also offer a selection of fresh pastries and other food items, sodas, juices, and coffee-making equipment and accessories.

Each Starbucks store varies its product mix depending upon the size of the store and its location. Larger stores carry a broad selection of the Company's whole bean coffees in various sizes and types of packaging, as well as an assortment of coffee and espresso-making equipment and accessories such as coffee grinders, coffee makers, espresso machines, coffee filters, storage containers, travel tumblers and mugs. Smaller Starbucks stores and kiosks typically sell a full line of coffee beverages, a more limited selection of whole bean coffees and a few accessories such as travel tumblers and logo mugs. Approximately 15% of Starbucks stores carry a selection of "grab and go" sandwiches and salads. During fiscal 2000, the Company's retail sales mix by product type was approximately 73% handcrafted beverages, 14% food items, 8% whole bean coffees, and 5% coffee-making equipment and accessories.

Specialty Operations

Starbucks specialty operations strive to develop the Starbucks brand outside the Company-operated retail store environment through a number of channels. Starbucks specialty operations include retail store licensing agreements, wholesale accounts, grocery channel licensing agreements and joint ventures. Starbucks specialty operations also include direct-to-consumer marketing channels. In certain licensing situations, the licensee is a joint venture in which Starbucks has an equity ownership interest. During fiscal 2000, specialty revenues (which include royalties and fees from licensees as well as product sales) accounted for approximately 16% of the Company's net revenues.

Although the Company does not generally relinquish operational control of its retail stores in North America, in situations in which a master concessionaire or another company controls or can provide improved access to desirable retail space, the Company may consider licensing its operations. As part of these arrangements, Starbucks receives license fees and royalties and sells coffee and related products for resale in the licensed locations. Employees working in the licensed locations must follow Starbucks detailed store-operating procedures and attend training classes similar to those given to Starbucks store managers and employees. As of October 1, 2000, the Company had 530 licensed stores in continental North America.

Starbucks retail stores located outside of North America, the United Kingdom, Thailand and Australia are operated through a number of joint venture and licensing arrangements with prominent retailers. During fiscal 2000, the Company expanded its international presence by opening 184 new international licensed stores, including the first stores in Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Hong Kong and Shanghai. At fiscal year end, the Company had 154 stores in Japan, 47 in Taiwan, 28 in China, 28 in Singapore, 27 in the Philippines, 20 in Hawaii, 15 in New Zealand, 14 in Malaysia, six in South Korea, five in the United Arab Emirates, four in Kuwait, three in Lebanon, and one in Qatar.

Starbucks also sells whole bean and ground coffees to several types of wholesale accounts, including office coffee distributors and institutional foodservice management companies that service business, industry, education and healthcare accounts, and hotels, airlines and restaurants. In fiscal 1998, Starbucks entered into a long-term licensing agreement with Kraft Foods, Inc. to accelerate the growth of the Starbucks brand into the grocery channel in the United States. Pursuant to such agreement, Kraft manages all distribution, marketing, advertising and promotions for Starbucks whole bean and ground coffee in grocery, warehouse club and mass merchandise stores. By the end of fiscal 2000, the Company's whole bean and ground coffees were available throughout the United States in approximately 16,000 supermarkets.

The Company has two non-retail domestic 50-50 joint ventures. The North American Coffee Partnership, a joint venture with the Pepsi-Cola Company, a division of PepsiCo, Inc. , was formed in fiscal 1994 to develop and distribute ready-to-drink coffee-based products. By the end of fiscal 2000, the joint venture was distributing bottled Frappuccino coffee drink to approximately 250,000 supermarkets, convenience and drug stores and other locations throughout the United States and Canada. The Company formed a joint venture with Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, Inc. in fiscal 1996 to develop and distribute Starbucks premium coffee ice creams. By the end of fiscal 2000, the joint venture was distributing a variety of ice cream and novelty products to over 21,000 supermarkets throughout the United States.

The Company makes fresh Starbucks coffee and coffee-related products conveniently available via mail order and on-line. Starbucks publishes and distributes a mail order catalog that offers its coffees, certain food items and select coffee-making equipment and accessories, and the Company maintains a web site at www.starbucks. com with an on-line store that allows customers to browse for and purchase coffee, gifts and other items via the Internet. The Company believes that its direct-to-consumer operations support its retail store expansion into new markets and reinforce brand recognition in existing markets.


SBUX purchases, roasts and sells high quality whole bean coffees, rich-brewed coffees, Italian-style espresso beverages, cold blended beverages and a variety of pastries. For the 26 weeks ended 4/1/01, net sales rose 25% to $1.30 billion. Net income rose 40% to $81.2 million. Revenues reflect the opening of new retail stores and higher comparable store sales. Net income also reflects a higher gross margin due to an increase in sales prices.

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