Ever wondered why Starbucks is one of the biggest coffee brands globally, with about 24,000 stores. Here are 11 things that make Starbucks so popular.
It’s undeniable that Starbucks is a very popular coffee brand worldwide. In the US, Starbucks has become an integral part of American culture. To almost everyone I know, Starbucks is the first stop before work or school, a temporary office, or a hangout location. I am among the many people who always first ask, “is there a Starbucks around?” before I settle in a neighborhood. I get really delighted when I know the area has Starbucks or really disappointed when I learn that there’s no Starbucks store around. So, I came up wish this post to give you an idea why Starbucks is so popular. By the end of the post, you will learn what makes Starbucks contribute brand famous.
Starbucks is so popular for three things: 1) it’s coffee and unique beverages, 2) how people drink coffee, and 2) it’s brand – a luxury premium brand.
Starbucks is known for quality coffee and beverages. People go into Starbucks because of their quality coffee and the range of beverages and pastries they offer. Everyone has something they can find and enjoy at Starbucks.
The company created a place away from work and home where everyone could go and socialize, work, or relax — the third place. This changed how people saw coffee houses. It has done this concisely and continued to improve with new coffee brands and specialty drinks that keep customers coming back. It’s like the Amazon of coffee houses, only better.
Finally, Starbucks commands a premium coffee brand. Customers pay higher prices for the Starbucks’ coffee because they’re not only buying a beverage, but also buying a luxury or premium brand, which is social statement. The consumers are at Starbucks, while buying coffee also buy an experience and a lifestyle. Although these intangibles are difficult to measure, it’s easy to measure them at Starbucks because customers swarm in their store in thousands.
Now that you know why Starbucks is so popular, let’s look at what it does to make it famous.
When Schultz arrived at Starbucks in 1982, he changed the concept of Starbucks and redefined how people drink coffee. He changed it from a roast house and coffee appliances shop to a coffeehouse where people could meet, take their coffee while socializing, and carry some home, including appliances.
Schultz also changed the ambiance to invite customers. He focused on attracting more customers to the store, which the modern business world says is customer-centric. Since then, the Starbucks brand has grown exponentially to become a household coffee name.
The warm environment attracted everyone from adults, businessmen, college buddies, and those escaping their jobs for a quick coffee break. Starbucks’ concept is that the brand is a luxury that everyone can afford.
There wouldn’t be a Starbucks without its brand of high-quality coffee. Starbucks is known for its “decent” quality coffees that they conveniently serve. Some people say that Starbucks coffee tastes different and it’s true. I say because I’ve compared what Starbucks offers with others.
First, the ratio of coffee to water in every Starbucks coffee brew is much higher than in most other coffee houses. This makes the Starbucks coffee produce a more intense or stronger flavor. People who are used to a less concentrated coffees might find the strong taste of Starbucks coffee bitter or burnt.
Second, the Starbucks’ barristers undergo intense training, usually over 30 hours of training on every Starbucks drink from Frappuccino to Hot Chocolates. They’re also trained on the origins of the Starbucks coffee beans make them understand the beans and how to make them taste great.
So, the espresso shots might not the best quality in the market, and the coffee roasts might be darker, but the Starbucks mode of preparing coffee makes brings out the quality that many want.
Starbucks stores don’t serve coffee that’s stood for over 30 minutes. It’s against their policy. Starbucks Baristas simultaneously manage four batches of coffee beans, rotating every 15 minutes. They don’t let the coffee sit for more than 30 minutes, even after hours, and never serve anything old.
The barrister also follows a timed regime for other beverages like iced tea, iced coffee, and pastries. This regime makes sure that everything you order at the store tastes fresh.
This means when you order coffee and walk into the store after 30 minutes, you’ll get a fresh brew. Is there anyone who doesn’t like freshly brewed coffee? People walk into Starbucks knowing that their coffee will be as fresh as they’d made it at home, and there’s never been a great way to keep customer loyalty than this.
Schultz knew that customers wanted the ambiance, and he gave them just that. It’s not just about how the attendants dress or the jazz and classical music, but everything at Starbucks is about ambiance. Every time I walk into any Starbucks, I feel like I was invited to a friend’s house. Everything screams “comfort” — a rich color scheme, great music, the coffee aroma, organic-looking art, and signature green-clothed barristers. I believe other customers feel this warm and inviting ambiance and keep coming back. Everyone knows almost everything to expect when you walk into a Starbucks.
The result of this great ambiance offer is that Starbucks stays with the upper-scale of the coffee market as the driving force behind its popularity. Starbucks competing on quality and comfort rather than convenience, which its closest competitors such as McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts offer.
Almost everyone I know starts their day at Starbucks or before work or school and hangs out at Starbucks for a pastime. Many people I’ve interacted with agree that Starbucks’ high-quality brew helps them power through their day. Is it the reason people flock to Starbucks almost all the time? No.
Coffee isn’t the only menu option. Today, the brand’s stores serve selections of food items, varieties of espresso, and plenty of coffee-free beverages. This has made them friendly to both coffee and noncoffee lovers as well as children and snackers. Customers can get almost every kind of beverage and pastries they want, even those whose food preferences are unpredictable.
Creating and maintaining a brand as big as Starbucks needs strategic branding and clever marketing. This is exactly what Starbucks has done with its luxury branding, cup sizes, and celebrity marketing.
The first branding Starbucks used was in its cups, making them the most recognizable cups in the coffee industry. Starbucks has five cup sizes: Short, Tall, Grande, Venti, and Trenta, in that order. The three Italian names were crafted to depict the true identity of coffee in Italy, a tradition that began out of Howard Shulz’s liking of Italian coffee bars.
Starbucks has also successfully positioned its brand as a luxury anyone can afford and commands a premium brand. With the Italian names, cozy decor, comparatively high prices, and quality coffee, Starbucks products are perceived as a reward, which is the intended goal. Everyone wants to afford luxury. Consumers are willing to pay their higher coffee prices as to make a social statement. They’re buying an experience and a Starbucks lifestyle.
Finally, Starbucks benefits from celebrities who take pictures with their Starbucks drinks and put them out there for everyone to see. I’ve seen many movies, films, news sites, and paparazzi shots of celebrities drinking or holding Starbucks drinks. The result? Everyone rushes to take their coffee where celebrities enjoy their drink, and that’s at Starbuck. Why? Because that’s a status symbol, which takes us back to the premium luxury branding. The interesting bit is that Starbucks doesn’t pay these celebrities for the marketing. The Hollywood and paparazzi do it for them for free.
No doubt, Starbucks is comfortable, convenient and reliable. This is perhaps the brand’s key to winning over customers’ loyalty and taste buds. They execute their convenience in a consistent manner almost everyone who walks into a Starbucks comes out satisfied.
Its convenience begins with location. The stores are strategically located for people to take any meal of the day, meet and socialize over a drink, and walk to school or work conveniently. The next convenience is in their customer service. The baristas work quickly to avoid delaying clients and keep long lines moving. This also involves integrating different payment options like card payment, Starbucks App, Apple Pay Integration, etc. This could be why millions of people have made it a routine to order a store pick of morning coffee on the way to work or school.
Starbucks’ popularity has occurred in convergence with how people work, live, and interact, earning it the name of a third place. This is a place that’s neither at work nor at home but a neutral space where people can meet and interact on equal terms. Starbucks believe in letting their customer engagement freely and allowing conversation to occur as naturally as possible. And they give the space, resources and ability for this to happen.
While other coffee houses focus on keeping the line moving, customers keep coming back to Starbucks coffee shops because they get the “third place” feeling. They can walk into a Starbucks to relax, use the internet for work, hold a birthday party, or just hang out with friend after work. This is a life all millennials live and enjoy and why they’re so relatable with Starbucks.
Starbucks’ popularity is also a result of its strategic seasonal, trendy, and specialty drink and beverage offerings. The unicorn Frappuccino, Caramel Lattes, Peppermint Mocha, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Hot Chocolates, and other specialty sugary beverages have given Starbucks a loyal customer following. Although many connoisseurs complain that Starbucks coffee often tastes burnt due to over-roasting, the sugar syrups, cream, foam, and chocolate in the specialty drinks make customers come back. For example, I can’t miss my Saturday afternoon Hot Iced Chocolate whenever I have the time to walk into a Starbucks. I like taking it there because of the ambiance and feeling of relaxation.
Additionally, Starbucks has an incredible line of seasonal drinks to gain more loyalty, such as the summer Iced Cinnamon Dolce Latte and Iced Green Tea Lemonade and the winter White Hot Chocolate. These drinks are so popular that they forced other coffee stores to introduce similar beverages to compete.
Starbucks has a list of low-calorie, low fat, and sugar-free products in its list of products. Starbucks has a “skinny” line of drinks, which offers lower-calorie, low-fat, and sugar-free versions of its ordinary drinks with skim milk. It also allows customers to sweeten these drinks with choices like natural sweeteners (such as honey, raw sugar, or agave syrup), sugar-free syrup flavors, or artificial sweeteners (like Equal, Sweet’N Low, and Splenda).
Customers who are lactose intolerant or don’t want milk products also enjoy Starbucks’ non-dairy milk offerings. Some of the non-dairy milk products customers can opt for include soy milk, coconut milk, low fructose corn syrup, almond milk, oat milk, etc. The milk substitutes also appeal to environmentalists and vegans.
Starbucks launched the famous Starbucks® app in 2011. The app makes it easy to order products at Starbucks and gives customers an easy time paying for and picking up their drinks without waiting in line at the store. By 2016, over a fifth of Starbucks transactions occurred on the Starbucks app. Customers can order and pay for their drinks, food, and merchandise through the app using multiple payment options, including cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, etc. The app is one of Starbucks’ best technology innovations.
Starbucks has become so popular and a great brand because of one simple reason: it’s met all the principles of great branding. It’s made itself a luxury that anyone can afford and a convenience that you wouldn’t want to miss. After writing this post, I’ve achieved a further understanding of why people trust Starbucks. It speaks to them directly by establishing an emotional bond between the store and customers. I hope you’ve also learned why Starbucks is so popular and how it achieved and maintained its popularity.
Kai Jordan worked as a Certified Nutrition Specialist and now a food critic whose main objective is to provide consumers with as much information as they need to make the right choices concerning foods and drinks. Jordan is passionate about helping the public reach their health-related goals but also keen on reviewing foods and drinks offered by some of the famous restaurants the likes of Starbucks.
Kai has therefore created well-researched and comprehensive excerpts regarding the services and products offered by the giant restaurant chain. And which can be retrieved from Starbmag.com, apart from talking writing, and dealing with food Kai loves also to Kayak. You can read more about me on the about us page.