It has been announced today that Starbucks have made their first quarterly loss in the company’s history (from BBC news). The article claims that shop closures are to blame. However an older article, also by the BBC looks at other issues.
They claim that the brand has been devalued through its own success. There are too many Starbucks shops around, too many in the same city as they began to take business away from each other. Quality has slipped leaving room for competition from more exclusive chains which serve ethical quality coffee, and independents that aren’t two-a-penny. They also tend to serve better coffee.
On my trip to Portland and Seattle in the spring, I drank wonderful coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters of Portland, and Top Pot in Seattle. These independant shops were way better and felt more individual and unique than the cloned Starbucks experience. And they were generally cheaper too. In Plymouth, I tend to go to Caffe Nero, an italian style chain which is cheaper and much nicer tasting than Starbucks.
Starbucks kick-started the coffeeshop craze, but have they become victim of their own success?