Starbucks – The Successful Business of Selling Coffee

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All or almost all of us drink coffee in some way or another. It comes in all shapes, sizes, tastes, textures and combinations. Even I confess to loving this liquor more than I should. And I am sure there are lots of people who feel just like I do. Therefore, some thought of transforming their addiction into a real business. Of course, there are a lot of cafes, cafeterias etc out there. Yet, Starbucks is a legend whereas the business of coffee is concerned.

It was opened in the Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington on March 30th, 1971 by three men-English teacher Jerry Baldwin, history teacher Zev Siegl, and writer Gordon Bowker-who were colleagues at the University of San Francisco. In the beginning, it was a roaster and retailer of whole bean and ground coffee, tea and spices[1]. There were other propositions to name the company such as Pequod from a whaling ship from the story Moby-Dick, yet it was rejected. Instead, they chose the name of the first mate from the novel and because of this, their logo is inspired by the sea and Greek mythology:a mermaid with two tails.

The first year of getting into business, they offered only roasted coffee beans and free samples of brewed coffee. Their source of coffee was Peet’s green beans, yet, in 1986, they purchased this supplier and started to buy the beans directly from the growers. In 1987, Starbucks extended into more cities in the US and their outlets were located at the Waterfront Station in Vancouver and Chicago, Illinois and even British Columbia, Canada. By 1989, Starbucks owned 46 stores across the American Mid and North-West. In 1996, Starbucks opened its first store in Tokyo, Japan and in 1998, it entered the British market by purchasing the English Seattle Coffee Company and its 56 cafes. Moreover, in 2002, Starbucks began its expansion into Latin America in Mexico City, Mexico and the next year, they opened an outlet in Lima, Peru. During the same year, Starbucks managed to get into the Russian market.

As of March 2014, they own almost 20.520 stores across the globe, being present in countries such as Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, New Zealand, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romaniaetc.

It is very obvious even from this list that what started as a small business of selling roasted beans in Seattle became a globally significant actor which is able to influence prices and trends. Nowadays, their outlets sell not only coffee, but also tea, freshly made fruit juice, food and also mugs, accessories, books, gifts etc. Starbucks has become a staple in popular culture and many a time did they deal with infringements on their logo. Their coffee and coffee-based products such as Frapuccino or Iced Coffee are made of whole bean and ground coffee varieties. Moreover, the other beverages they offer are original in their taste and presentation.

In their words, we offer the finest coffees in the world, grown, prepared and served by the finest people. But, besides this rather arrogant, but perhaps true approach, Starbucks is very powerful and its constant global expansion has only proven that it holds important resources of power just by purchasing, brewing and selling coffee.  

So, how about another cup of coffee? Or maybe let's build a money making empire out of coffee? Your pick.