Starbucks has decided to stray from its ideals of “real coffee” by adding an instant coffee to its repertoire.
When Howard Schulz, the Chief Executive of Starbucks, wrote his book “Pour Your Heart Into It” (about the history of Starbucks), he did not conceal his passion for good coffee or for his company. He pooh-poohed the notion of instant coffee and modeled his company after the Italian barista lifestyle. Schulz’s goal was to introduce Americans to really fine coffee and wean them away from a culture of instant coffee, which by the time he wrote his book had become synonymous with the kind of coffee that is served at gas stations.
After years however, Starbucks has finally copped out. The company has proved that its initial values are not sustainable by creating an instant coffee known as “Starbucks Via” that it will begin serving next month. Apparently the market for instant coffee is so huge (especially abroad) that Starbucks can no longer ignore it. Ironically, the same Howard Schulz says that “This is a transformational event in the history of the company.” (WSJ)
Has the company come full circle? Or have they just become even more boring? In his book Schultz admits that he was afraid that “Starbucks may become another soul-less big chain.” Now with the introduction of instant coffee, the company has become even more soul-less perhaps by abandoning the very culture of “real coffee” that differentiated it the first place.