In conducting my fieldwork, I visited Starbucks Corporation as my field of study. Starbucks Corporation is an American based company that operates internationally as a coffee company and a coffeehouse chain; its main base is in Seattle, Washington (Koehn 5). I interviewed the branch manager in Seattle and found out that it was first established in this locality on 30 March 1971. The idea to start such a venture was made by three partners – Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl and Gordon Bowker, who met being students at the University of San Francisco (Michelli 25). In deciding the name of the company amidst controversy, it was named after the chief mate on the Pequod, Starbuck. After its establishment, the corporation initially sold roasted coffee, and started selling the brew one only afterward. During first stages of operation, the company bought green coffee beans from Peet’s for their processing, and later begun obtaining them directly from growers.
Starbucks Corporation is the largest coffeehouse globally. It has more than 20,000 stores in about 60 countries all over the world ranging from the United States, Canada, China, Japan, the United Kingdom, South Korea etc (Friedman and David 24). Moving on services offered, this organization provides its esteemed customers with hot and cold beverages, snacks, pastries, whole-bean coffee, full-leaf teas and microground instant coffee. In addition, Starbucks also offers packaged food items, sandwiches and commodities like mugs. The company while conducting its business operations ensures the services that it provides are health and cost conscious following a decision it made in June 2009 to cut offer low-calorie and sugar-free versions of its drinks. As the name suggests, it does not offer only coffee and tea: I found out that after 4pm in the evening Starbuck Corporation offers its customers beers, wines, small bites etc. On further inquiry, the coffeehouse chain deals with a wide range of activities depending on where its store is situated. Some of such activities are seasonal while others operate on a permanent basis. The company is also involved in marketing of books, film and music to ensure maximum service provision to their esteemed and dedicated customers (Dahmen, Lojacono and Malec 34).
During my fieldwork activity at the Starbucks Corporation, after consultation with the CEO Mr. Howard Schultz, it was necessary that I chose the convenient methods to collect the data required (Koehn 17). I distributed open questionnaires to the employees on duty, conducted direct personal interviews and carried out observations, too. I observed that attendants were putting on white aprons and brown flat shoes when they serve their customers. In the food and beverage preparation area, the employees had put on green aprons and green heavy holding gloves as they prepared the food and beverages. The workers in this area worked collectively from a central point. On interacting with them, I interviewed a few of them on how they assure the food and beverages are prepared and served on time. Mr. Maurice Goodwill, one of the workers in this area, told me the company has enough employees, thus each of them works for seven hours after which another lot comes in. However, the very fact that enables them always to prepare everything in time is the workers observe a punctual scheme at the workplace following a strict schedule. One more essential factor he noted is the company always ensures that all the required preparation elements are available on time that there are also others in case of emergency.
Heading back to the serving area, I spotted a family has walked into the premises and sat around a table. I decided to interview them on why they chose to refresh themselves from this point. Mr. Raymond Goodman, the interviewee, explained to me that he had brought his family to take some salads and bakes since they prefer what the company offers. It sells salads and baked goods without high-fructose corn syrup or artificial added ingredients, and such a move is never a threat to his family’s health, and it is economically conscious. From their table, I approached a group of young men surrounding another table enjoying a great variety of drinks. I enquired if they had anything in particular to why they opted to come here. One of them, Nicholas Tuesday, replied the drinks offered at this place had low-calorie and are sugar-free versions. He continued that organization uses skim milk with adding of the artificial substances which Starbucks Coffee Company applies as sweeteners. From this customer, I was able to deduce that Starbucks’ customers have full and, if not, enough knowledge about the services offered to them by the company. This is because the response that customer gave me complied with a report that I had collected from the technical manager of the company.
It was now approximately two and half hours of conducting my fieldwork and I was notified through phone by the production department’s manager that he had done filling in the questionnaire. I handed him the latter with a sole intention of knowing the major divisions of goods offered by Starbucks Corporation. First, he noted that coffee and tea were widely offered in all 61 countries where their stores are located globally as at November 16, 2012. Starbucks Corporation had also started selling beer and wine products at some specific stores in the United States (Gillespie and David 293). By 2010 and as at April 2012, the services were readily available at seven locations offering them and, meantime, others were applying for the required license to be able to provide these services to their esteemed and dedicated customers. In addition, he stated that company had acquired a juice called Evolution Fresh. Besides, it was expected to start a chain of juice bars by mid 2012 and most of them were now working: for instance, San Bernardino and California. Furthermore, he added that organization, in 2012, had began providing its esteemed customers with a line of ice refresher beverages which have been enriched with an ingredient from green Arabica coffee beans with fruit flavors and containing caffeine (Lovelock and Wright 175). Another questionnaire from the marketing department sought to know how the company can maintain dominance in most countries where it operates. The respondent stated that, first, at a point the company has been forced to buy out competitor’s leases. This made it operate at a loss knowingly by concentrating in several particular market’s locations within a smaller geographical place, hence saturating it despite the critics from other quarters claiming that it does not encourage healthy competition. This global coffeehouse chain has also improved its market cover and profit margins by providing knowledge and information about own coffee to its customers, educating them about coffee helps them improve the sales.
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Partnership has emanated as a very important tool for the success of Starbucks Corporation. During an interview with the marketing department’s manager, I found out that studied company has entered an agreement with Apple to collaborate collectively to sell music as part of entertainment in the coffeehouse experience. Apple has added Starbucks music bar to the iTunes store such that folks are able to access music similar to that plays in Starbucks stores. This prompted another move on September 2007 when iTunes made an official announcement that folks will be able to browse and listen to music using the Starbucks Wi-Fi in the United States without necessarily having to log in (Friedman and Parkes 14). Starbucks Corporation has also gotten into partnership with media houses such as the MSNBC. Whereby the everyday morning news called Morning Joe was presented as “brewed by Starbucks” and it as well went an extra mile to include the Starbucks’ logo into its logo. This move was not welcomed warmly by other media houses. Starbucks Corporation also established free Wi-Fi internet access in the countries where they have set their stores: for instance, in Germany, Switzerland and Austria (Koehn 84). This step played a very important role in improving communication with customers and promoting buyer’s loyalty to the company. Overall, we find that partnership has actually contributed significantly to the growth of Starbucks Corporation as indicated by the Starbucks Corporation marketing department manager. (Friedman and Parkes 2003).
During my fieldwork at Starbucks Corporation, I noted some specific fascinating observations. First, the way the workers at this company are friendly and cooperative. It was interesting also to find out that heads of different departments were easily accessible and were more than willing to share information about the organization. These are observations that I actually did not anticipate before my visit. Despite the very large sizes of Starbucks’ stores and, most importantly, the large size of the corporation, Howard Schultz stated a point of great value to note on management. According to him, CEO always aims to ensure that growth does not interfere with the company’s culture, and the sole goal and objective of the largest global coffeehouse chain to act as a small company to assure quality service provision to its customers (Boiler 156).
In conclusion, it important to stress that Starbucks Coffee Company is a success because it assures accountability of all its transactions: one has invested largely in trying to provide a great variety of beverages ranging from coffee beverages to beer and wine. The company has also educated and provided information about own products to its esteemed customers making them fully aware of the goods they are offered. The corporation advertises its products through news organizations, branding that also attracts more consumers, and to retain them, the company’s staffs are hospitable and provide quality customer service that appeals to them. Its operations are also environmental friendly. All these factors summed up guarantees the success of Starbucks Coffee Company on the global scale.
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