SEATTLE -- It’s been a busy month for Starbucks. The coffee-category leader announced a sweeping wage increase for all of its U.S. employees, along with a slew of new employee initiatives designed to strengthen engagement with its associates. Now the company is reorganizing its leadership structure, with the goal of ushering in “the next phase of our growth and development.”
Here's a look at some of the steps involved ...
That comes from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (pictured above) who, in a statement on the company’s website, outlined plans to showcase “elevated levels of coffee innovation, design creativity and customer experience.” The strategy calls for expansion of its upscale Roastery concept, modeled after the chain’s 15,000-square-foot coffee brewery in the posh Capitol Hill section of Seattle. Starbucks intends to “accelerate and globalize” the presence of Roastery stores and is mapping out plans for “building more Roasteries in iconic cities,” according to Schultz.
The world’s largest Starbucks unit is set to be a 20,000-square-foot Roastery location scheduled for a 2018 debut in Manhattan, while Chicago is slated for a Roastery opening that same year, says Crain's Chicago Business. Roastery’s unit interiors flaunt modern, eye-catching design elements centered on coffee roasting and brewing techniques. Customers can participate in coffee tastings and learn more about Starbucks’ rare, small-batch coffees, which are sold under its Reserve name.
Reserve coffees are also central to how Starbucks is prepping for an even stronger positioning around premium; Schultz said the company will leverage its higher-end Reserve products by spinning them off as a brand extension and “threading the Roastery experience into hundreds of new coffee-forward Reserve stores (photo above) around the world.” Within the new Reserve stores, Starbucks plans to integrate upscale food offerings from Princi, its new Italian food partner.
All of this activity proves that Starbucks isn’t resting on its laurels of being an industry leader, with solid sales growth and a flourishing customer loyalty program. Instead, it’s getting creative by making next-level, distinguishing facets of its business more visible and accessible to a greater number of consumers worldwide, and exploring opportunities that “reaffirm our leadership in all things coffee.”
What’s the lesson for convenience stores? That even leading players in the c-store segment—especially those that are already winning with robust coffee programs—must continuously prioritize innovation in order to reconfirm their position at the top.