Starbucks Corporation is an American coffee company and coffeehouse
Starbucks was founded in Seattle, Washington in 1971. As of
2017, the company operates 27,339 locations worldwide.
Starbucks is considered the main representative of "second wave
coffee", initially distinguishing itself from other coffee-serving
venues in the US by taste, quality, and customer experience while
popularizing darkly roasted coffee. Since the 2000s, third wave
coffee makers have targeted quality-minded coffee drinkers with
hand-made coffee based on lighter roasts, while
uses automated espresso machines for efficiency and safety
Starbucks locations serve hot and cold drinks, whole-bean coffee,
microground instant coffee known as VIA, espresso, caffe latte, full-
and loose-leaf teas including
Teavana tea products, Evolution Fresh
Frappuccino beverages, La Boulange pastries, and snacks
including items such as chips and crackers; some offerings (including
their annual fall launch of the Pumpkin Spice Latte) are seasonal or
specific to the locality of the store. Many stores sell pre-packaged
food items, hot and cold sandwiches, and drinkware including mugs and
tumblers; select "
Starbucks Evenings" locations offer beer, wine, and
appetizers. Starbucks-brand coffee, ice cream, and bottled cold
coffee drinks are also sold at grocery stores.
Starbucks first became profitable in
Seattle in the early 1980s.
Despite an initial economic downturn with its expansion into the
British Columbia in the late 1980s, the company
experienced revitalized prosperity with its entry into California in
the early 1990s. The first
Starbucks location outside North
America opened in
Tokyo in 1996; overseas properties now constitute
almost one-third of its stores. The company opened an average of
two new locations daily between 1987 and 2007.
On December 1, 2016,
Howard Schultz announced he would resign as CEO
effective April 2017 and would be replaced by Kevin Johnson. Johnson
assumed the role of
CEO on April 3, 2017.
1.2 Sale and expansion
1.3 Expansion to new markets and products
2 Corporate governance
3.3 Other products
4.4 Unbranded stores
4.5 Licensed and franchise operations
4.6 Automated locations
6 Parodies and infringements
7 Environmental and social policies
7.1 Environmental impact
7.2 Farmer equity practices
7.3 Fair trade
7.4 Ethos water
7.5 Food bank donations
8.1 Market strategy
8.2 Labor disputes
8.3 "War On Christmas"
8.4 Opening without planning permission
8.6 "The Way I See It"
8.7 US military viral email
8.8 Gun controversy
8.9 Same-sex marriage
8.10 European tax avoidance
8.11 Chinese pricing
8.12 #Racetogether marketing campaign
8.13 Supporting refugees
8.14 Muslim boycott of Starbucks
8.15 Korea, workers
8.16 California cancer warning rule
9 Music, film, and television
10 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Interior of the
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market location in 1977
Starbucks opened in Seattle, Washington, on March 31,
1971, by three partners who met while they were students at the
University of San Francisco: English teacher Jerry Baldwin,
history teacher Zev Siegl, and writer
Gordon Bowker were inspired to
sell high-quality coffee beans and equipment by coffee roasting
Alfred Peet after he taught them his style of roasting
beans. The company took the name of the chief mate in the book
Moby-Dick: Starbuck, after considering "Cargo House" and "Pequod".
Bowker recalls that Terry Heckler, with whom Bowker owned an
advertising agency, thought words beginning with "st" were powerful.
The founders brainstormed a list of words beginning with "st". Someone
pulled out an old mining map of the
Cascade Range and saw a mining
town named "Starbo", which immediately put Bowker in mind of the
character "Starbuck". Bowker said, "
Moby-Dick didn't have anything to
Starbucks directly; it was only coincidental that the sound
seemed to make sense."
Starbucks store at 1912 Pike Place. This is the second location of
the original Starbucks, which was at 2000 Western Avenue from 1971 to
Starbucks store was located in
Seattle at 2000 Western
Avenue from 1971–1976. This cafe was later moved to 1912 Pike Place;
never to be relocated again. During this time, the company only
sold roasted whole coffee beans and did not yet brew coffee to
sell. The only brewed coffee served in the store were free
samples. During their first year of operation, they purchased green
coffee beans from Peet's, then began buying directly from growers.
Sale and expansion
In 1984, the original owners of Starbucks, led by Jerry Baldwin,
purchased Peet's. During the 1980s, total sales of coffee in the
US were falling, but sales of specialty coffee increased, forming 10%
of the market in 1989, compared with 3% in 1983. By 1986, the
company operated six stores in Seattle and had only just begun to
sell espresso coffee.
In 1987, the original owners sold the
Starbucks chain to former
manager Howard Schultz, who rebranded his Il Giornale coffee
Starbucks and quickly began to expand. In the same year,
Starbucks opened its first locations outside
Seattle at Waterfront
Station in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Chicago, Illinois. By
1989, 46 stores existed across the Northwest and Midwest, and annually
Starbucks was roasting over 2,000,000 pounds (907,185 kg) of
At the time of its initial public offering (IPO) on the stock market
in June 1992,
Starbucks had 140 outlets, with a revenue of US$73.5
million, up from US$1.3 million in 1987. The company's market value
was US$271 million by this time. The 12% portion of the company that
was sold raised around US$25 million for the company, which
facilitated a doubling of the number of stores over the next two
years. By September 1992, Starbucks' share price had risen by 70%
to over 100 times the earnings per share of the previous year.
In July 2013, over 10% of in-store purchases were made on customer's
mobile devices using the
Starbucks app. The company once again
utilized the mobile platform when it launched the "Tweet-a-Coffee"
promotion in October 2013. On this occasion, the promotion also
Twitter and customers were able to purchase a US$5 gift card
for a friend by entering both "@tweetacoffee" and the friend's handle
in a tweet. Research firm Keyhole monitored the progress of the
campaign and a December 6, 2013, media article reported that the firm
had found that 27,000 people had participated and US$180,000 of
purchases were made to date.
Expansion to new markets and products
This section is missing information about order and pay feature in
app. Please expand the section to include this information. Further
details may exist on the talk page. (December 2016)
Starbucks location outside North America opened in Tokyo,
Japan, in 1996. On December 4, 1997, the
Philippines became the
third market to open outside North America with its first branch in
the country located at 6750 Ayala Building in
Starbucks entered the U.K. market in 1998 with
the $83 million USD acquisition of the then 56-outlet,
Coffee Company, re-branding all the stores as
Starbucks. In September 2002,
Starbucks opened its first store in
Latin America, at
Mexico City. Currently, there are over 500 locations
Mexico and there are plans for the opening of up to 850 by
Starbucks experimented with eateries in the San Francisco Bay
area through a restaurant chain called Circadia. These restaurants
were soon "outed" as
Starbucks establishments and converted to
In October 2002,
Starbucks established a coffee trading company in
Switzerland to handle purchases of green coffee. All other
coffee-related business continued to be managed from Seattle.
In April 2003,
Starbucks completed the purchase of Seattle's Best
Torrefazione Italia from
AFC Enterprises for $72m. The deal
only gained 150 stores for Starbucks, but according to the Seattle
Post-Intelligencer, the wholesale business was more significant.
In September 2006, rival Diedrich
Coffee announced that it would sell
most of its company-owned retail stores to Starbucks. This sale
included the company-owned locations of the Oregon-based
Starbucks converted the Diedrich
locations to Starbucks, although the Portland International Airport
Coffee People locations were excluded from the sale.
In August 2003,
Starbucks opened its first store in South America in
In 2007, the company opened its first store in Russia, ten years after
first registering a trademark there.
In 2008, they purchased the manufacturer of the Clover Brewing System.
They began testing the "fresh-pressed" coffee system at several
Starbucks locations in Seattle, California, New York, and Boston.
Graph showing the growth in the number of
Starbucks stores between
1971 and 2011
In early 2008,
Starbucks started a community website, My Starbucks
Idea, designed to collect suggestions and feedback from customers.
Other users comment and vote on suggestions. Journalist Jack Schofield
noted that "My
Starbucks seems to be all sweetness and light at the
moment, which I don't think is possible without quite a lot of
censorship". The website is powered by
In May 2008, a loyalty program was introduced for registered users of
Starbucks Card (previously simply a gift card) offering perks such
Wi-Fi Internet access, no charge for soy milk and flavored
syrups, and free refills on brewed drip coffee, iced coffee, or
tea. In 2009,
Starbucks began beta testing its mobile app for the
Starbucks card, a stored value system in which consumers access
pre-paid funds to purchase products at Starbucks. Starbucks
released its complete mobile platform on January 11, 2011.
On November 14, 2012,
Starbucks announced the purchase of
US$620 million in cash and the deal was formally closed on
December 31, 2012.
On February 1, 2013,
Starbucks opened its first store in Ho Chi Minh
City, Vietnam, and this was followed by an announcement in
late August 2013 that the retailer will be opening its inaugural store
in Colombia. The Colombian announcement was delivered at a press
conference in Bogota, where the company's
CEO explained, "Starbucks
has always admired and respected Colombia's distinguished coffee
In August 2014,
Starbucks opened their first store in Williamsburg,
Brooklyn. This location will be one of 30
Starbucks stores that will
serve beer and wine.
In September 2014, it was revealed that
Starbucks would acquire the
remaining 60.5 percent stake in Starbuck
Japan that it does not
already own, at a price of $913.5 million.
In August 2015,
Starbucks announced that it will enter Cambodia, its
16th market in the China/Asia Pacific region. The first location will
open in the capital city of Phnom Penh by the end of 2015.
In February 2016,
Starbucks announced that it will enter Italy, its
24th market in Europe. The first location will open in
2018. In August, startup company FluxPort introduced Qi inductive
charging pads at select locations in Germany.
In September 2016,
Starbucks announced a debut of its first-ever
original content series called "Upstanders" which aims to inspire
Americans with stories of compassion, citizenship, and civility. The
series features podcasts, written word, and video, and will be
distributed via the
Starbucks mobile app, online, and through the
company's in-store digital network.
On July 27, 2017,
Starbucks acquired the remaining 50% stake in their
Chinese venture from long-term joint venture partners Uni-President
Corporation (UPEC) and President Chain Store Corporation
On March 21, 2018,
Starbucks announced that it is considering the use
of blockchain technology with an idea to connect coffee drinkers with
coffee farmers who eventually can take advantage of new financial
opportunities. The pilot program is going to start with farmers in
Colombia and Rwanda in order to develop a new way to track
the bean to cup journey. 
Howard Schultz, Executive
Chairman of Starbucks
Starbucks' chairman, Howard Schultz, has talked about making sure
growth does not dilute the company's culture
Howard Schultz served as the company's
CEO until 2000. Orin C.
Smith was President and
Starbucks from 2001 to 2005.
In January 2008, Schultz resumed his roles as President and
an eight-year hiatus, replacing Jim Donald, who took the posts in 2005
but was asked to step down after sales slowed in 2007. Schultz aims to
restore what he calls the "distinctive
Starbucks experience" in the
face of rapid expansion. Analysts believe that Schultz must determine
how to contend with higher materials prices and enhanced competition
from lower-price fast food chains, including
McDonald's and Dunkin'
Starbucks announced it would discontinue the warm breakfast
sandwich products they originally intended to launch nationwide in
2008 and refocus on coffee, but they reformulated the sandwiches to
deal with complaints and kept the product line.
As of January 2015[update], the chief operating officer of Starbucks
was Troy Alstead, though at that time he announced he was taking an
extended leave of absence of undetermined length. Subsequently,
Kevin Johnson was appointed to succeed Alstead as president and
In October 2015,
Starbucks hired its first Chief Technology Officer,
Gerri Martin-Flickinger, to lead their technology team. In April
2017, Schultz became executive chairman of
Starbucks with Johnson
becoming President and CEO.
Starbucks maintains control of production processes by communicating
with farmers to secure beans, roasting its own beans, and managing
distribution to all retail locations. Additionally, Starbucks' Coffee
and Farmer Equity Practices require suppliers to inform
portion of wholesale prices paid reaches farmers.
A typical sales area, this one in Peterborough, UK, showing a display
of food and the beverage preparation area
Starbucks bought The
Coffee Connection, gaining the rights to
use, make, market, and sell the "Frappuccino" beverage. The
beverage was introduced under the
Starbucks name in 1995 and as of
Starbucks had annual Frappuccinos sales of over $2 billion.
The company began a "skinny" line of drinks in 2008, offering
lower-calorie and sugar-free versions of the company's offered drinks
that use skim milk, and can be sweetened by a choice of "natural"
sweeteners (such as raw sugar, agave syrup, or honey), artificial
sweeteners (such as Sweet'N Low, Splenda, Equal), or one of the
company's sugar-free syrup flavors.
Starbucks stopped using
milk originating from rBGH-treated cows in 2007.
In June 2009, the company announced that it would be overhauling its
menu and selling salads and baked goods without high fructose corn
syrup or artificial ingredients. This move was expected to attract
health- and cost-conscious consumers and will not affect prices.
Starbucks introduced a new line of instant coffee packets, called VIA
"Ready Brew", in March 2009. It was first unveiled in New York City
with subsequent testing of the product also in Seattle, Chicago, and
London. The first two VIA flavors include Italian Roast and Colombia,
which were then rolled out in October 2009, across the U.S. and Canada
Starbucks stores promoting the product with a blind "taste
challenge" of the instant versus fresh roast, in which many people
could not tell the difference between the instant and fresh brewed
coffee. Analysts[who?] speculated that by introducing instant coffee,
Starbucks would devalue its own brand.
Starbucks began selling beer and wine at some US stores in 2010. As of
April 2012[update], it is available at seven locations and others have
applied for licenses.
Starbucks introduced its largest cup size, the Trenta, which
can hold 31 ounces. In September 2012,
Starbucks announced the
Verismo, a consumer-grade single-serve coffee machine that uses sealed
plastic cups of coffee grounds, and a "milk pod" for lattes.
On November 10, 2011,
Starbucks Corporation announced that it had
bought juice company
Evolution Fresh for $30 million in cash and
planned to start a chain of juice bars starting in around middle of
2012, venturing into territory staked out by Jamba Inc. Its first
store released in San Bernardino, California and plans for a store in
San Francisco were to be launched in early 2013.
Starbucks began selling a line of iced
beverages that contain an extract from green arabica coffee beans. The
beverages are fruit flavored and contain caffeine but advertised as
having no coffee flavor. Starbucks' green coffee extraction process
involves soaking the beans in water.
On June 25, 2013,
Starbucks began to post calorie counts on menus for
drinks and pastries in all of their U.S. stores.
Starbucks began producing their own line of "handcrafted"
sodas, dubbed "Fizzio".
Starbucks began serving coconut milk as an alternative to
dairy and soy.
In March 2017,
Starbucks announced to launch limited-edition of two
new specialty drinks made from beans aged in whiskey barrels at its
Seattle roastery. Starbucks' barrel-aged coffee will be sold with
a small batch of unroasted
Starbucks Reserve Sulawesi beans, which are
then hand-scooped into whiskey barrels from Washington D.C.
3 US fl oz (89 ml)
8 US fl oz (240 ml)
Smaller of the two original sizes
10 US fl oz (300 ml)
Smaller than the three original
Frappuccino sizes, offered as
12 US fl oz (350 ml)
Larger of the two original sizes
16 US fl oz (470 ml)
Italian for "large"
20 US fl oz (590 ml)
24 US fl oz (710 mL)
Italian for "twenty"
31 US fl oz (920 ml)
Italian for "thirty"
Starbucks entered the tea business in 1999 when it acquired the Tazo
brand for US$8,100,000. In late 2012,
Starbucks paid US$620
million to buy Teavana. As of November 2012[update], there is
no intention of marketing Starbucks' products in
though the acquisition will allow the expansion of
Teavana beyond its
current main footprint in shopping malls. In January 2015,
Starbucks began to roll out
Teavana teas into
Starbucks stores, both
in to-go beverage and retail formats.
Kevin Knox, who was in charge of doughnuts quality at
1987 to 1993, recalled on his blog in 2010 how George Howell, coffee
veteran and founder of the Cup of Excellence, had been appalled at the
dark roasted beans that
Starbucks was selling in 1990. Talking
to the New York Times in 2008, Howell stated his opinion that the dark
roast used by
Starbucks does not deepen the flavor of coffee, but
instead can destroy purported nuances of flavor. The March 2007
Consumer Reports compared American fast-food chain coffees
McDonald's Premium Roast. The magazine
Starbucks coffee "strong, but burnt and bitter enough to make
your eyes water instead of open". As reported by TIME in 2010,
third wave coffee proponents generally criticize
Starbucks Verismo, a line of coffee
makers that brew espresso and regular chocolate from coffee capsules,
a type of pre-apportioned single-use container of ground coffee and
flavorings utilizing the K-Fee pod system. In a brief review of
the 580 model,
Consumer Reports described the results of a comparative
test of the Verismo 580 against two competitive brands: "Because you
have to conduct a rinse cycle between each cup, the Verismo wasn't
among the most convenient of single-serve machines in our coffeemaker
tests. Other machines we've tested have more flexibility in adjusting
brew strength—the Verismo has buttons for coffee, espresso, and
latte with no strength variation for any type. And since
limited its coffee selection to its own brand, there are only eight
varieties so far plus a milk pod for the latte."
The company's headquarters is located in Seattle, Washington, United
States, where 3,501 people worked as of January 2015. The main
building in the
Starbucks complex was previously a Sears distribution
As of July 7, 2016,
Starbucks is present on 6 continents and in 75
countries and territories, with a total of 23,768 locations
South Africa: 7
South Korea: 985
Hong Kong: 147
United Arab Emirates: 138
Saudi Arabia: 92
United Kingdom: 884
Czech Republic: 26
United States: 13,327
Puerto Rico: 25
Costa Rica: 12
El Salvador: 11
Trinidad and Tobago: 5
New Zealand: 26
Starbucks continued its expansion, settling in Argentina,
Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Portugal.
European and Scandinavian expansion continued in 2009 with Poland
Netherlands (August), and
Sweden at Arlanda
In 2010, growth in new markets continued. In May 2010, Southern Sun
South Africa announced that they had signed an agreement with
Starbucks to brew
Starbucks coffees in select Southern Sun and Tsonga
Sun hotels in South Africa. The agreement was partially reached so
Starbucks coffees could be served in the country in time for the 2010
FIFA World Cup hosted by South Africa. In June 2010, Starbucks
opened its first store in Budapest,
Hungary and in November, the
company opened the first Central American store in El Salvador's
capital, San Salvador.
In December 2010,
Starbucks debuted their first ever
Starbucks at sea,
where with a partnership with Royal Caribbean International; Starbucks
opened a shop aboard their
Allure of the Seas
Allure of the Seas Royal Caribbean's second
largest ship, and also the second largest ship in the world.
Starbucks is planning to open[when?] its fourth African location,
after South Africa, Egypt, and Morocco, in Algeria. A partnership with
Algerian food company
Cevital will see
Starbucks open its first
Algerian store in Algiers.
Starbucks at Delhi Airport.
In January 2011,
Starbucks and Tata Coffee, Asia's largest coffee
plantation company, announced plans for a strategic alliance to bring
India and also to source and roast coffee beans at Tata
Kodagu facility. Despite a false start in 2007, in
Starbucks announced a 50:50 joint venture with Tata
Global Beverages called Tata Starbucks.
Tata Starbucks will own and
Starbucks outlets in
Coffee "A Tata
Starbucks opened its first store in
October 19, 2012.
Starbucks at the Forbidden City, Beijing, China
In February 2011,
Starbucks started selling their coffee in
supplying Norwegian food shops with their roasts. The first
Starbucks-branded Norwegian shop opened on February 8, 2012, at Oslo
Airport, Gardermoen. In October 2011,
Starbucks opened another
location in Beijing, China, at the Beijing Capital International
Airport's Terminal 3, international departures hall; making the
company's 500th store in China. The store is the 7th location at the
airport. The company planned to expand to 1,500 stores in
2015. In May 2012,
Starbucks opened its first coffeehouse in
Finland, with the location being
Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in
Starbucks recently[when?] opened a store in San Jose
Costa Rica, in 2 popular locations. 1 opened in a mall and the other
in Avenida Escazu.
In October 2012,
Starbucks announced plans to open 1,000 stores in the
United States in the next five years. The same month, the largest
Starbucks in the US opened at the University of Alabama's Ferguson
Starbucks met with Dansk Supermarked, which is the biggest
retail company in Denmark. The first
Starbucks inside Dansk
Supermarked opened in August 2013 in the department stores Salling in
Aalborg and Aarhus.
Starbucks has announced its first café in
Bolivia would open in 2014
Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Santa Cruz de la Sierra and the first in
Panama in 2015.
On June 19, 2015, a
Starbucks opened at
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom on
Discovery Island. Since the park does not allow plastic straws due to
the animals, this location features special green eco-friendly straws
with their cold drinks. This was the sixth
Starbucks to open in
Walt Disney World, following locations in the
Magic Kingdom (Main
Epcot (Future World), Disney's Hollywood Studios
(Hollywood Boulevard), and two in
Disney Springs (Marketplace and
West Side). In addition to these six, there are locations in
Disneyland (Main Street, U.S.A.),
Disney California Adventure
Disney California Adventure (Buena
Vista Street), Anaheim's Downtown Disney, and
Disney Village at
Disneyland Paris. The Downtown Disney and
Disney Springs locations are
Starbucks-operated, while the locations inside of the theme parks are
Bill Sleeth, Starbucks' vice president of global design, has overseen
efforts to make a neighborhood feel for new stores, saying "What you
don't want is a customer walking into a store in downtown Seattle,
walking into a store in the suburbs of
Seattle and then going into a
store in San Jose, and seeing the same store." Sleeth said "The
customers were saying, 'Everywhere I go, there you are,' and not in a
good way. We were pretty ubiquitous." As part of a change in compact
Starbucks management wanted to transition from the singular
brand worldwide to focusing on locally relevant design for each store.
Starbucks' first Channel Island store was opened in early 2015, in the
primary business area of
St Peter Port
St Peter Port in Guernsey.
Starbucks was scheduled to open a store in Azerbaijan, in the
Port Baku Mall.
In August 2013, Starbucks' CEO, Howard Schultz, personally announced
the opening of
Starbucks stores in Colombia. The first café was set
to open in 2014 in
Bogotá and add 50 more stores throughout
Colombia's main cities in a 5-year limit. Schultz also stated that
Starbucks will work with both the Colombian Government and
continue "empowering local coffee growers and sharing the value,
heritage and tradition of its coffee with the world."
that the aggressive expansion into
Colombia was a joint venture with
Starbucks' Latin partners, Alsea and Colombia's
Grupo Nutresa that has
previously worked with
Starbucks by providing coffee through Colcafe.
This announcement comes after Starbucks' Farmer Support Center was
established in Manizales,
Colombia the previous year making Colombia
an already established country by the corporation.
On April 21, 2015, Kesko, the second largest retailer in Finland,
announced its partnership with Starbucks, with stores opened next to
K-Citymarket hypermarkets. As of June 2017, 3 stores had been
opened next to K-Citymarkets: In
Espoo and in
Jumbo in Vantaa.
Starbucks in Lomas de Zamora, Argentina
On December 18, 2015,
Starbucks opened in Almaty, Kazakhstan. On the
next day, 1 more coffee shop was opened.
Starbucks store in
Slovakia opened in
Aupark Shopping Center
Bratislava on May 31, 2016, with two more stores
confirmed to open in
Bratislava by the end of 2016.
In February 2016,
Howard Schultz announced the opening of stores in
Italy. The first Italian
Starbucks store will open in
After Taste Holdings acquired outlet licensing for South African
Starbucks opened its first store in
South Africa in Rosebank,
Johannesburg on Thursday, April 21, 2016, and its second in the
country at the end of April in Mall of Africa.
In May 2017,
Starbucks announced it was commencing operations in
Jamaica, where the first store is to open in the resort city of
Montego Bay. The company announced that its first store would be
on located on the shores of the world-famous Doctor's Cave Beach,
offering views of the Caribbean Sea. Three other
were scheduled to be opened at the Sangster International Airport, the
busiest international airport in the Anglophone Caribbean, also in the
city of Montego Bay, in late 2017 (now set to February 2018).
Jamaica expects thereafter to roll out a further 14
locations across the island by the year 2020. The company also
reaffirmed its commitment to working with local coffee farmers to
"implement systems to increase productivity and yields, while also
increasing compliance to international standards." Starbucks
Jamaica officially opened its first store on November 21, 2017, with
plans to open 15 locations islandwide over a 5-year period. The next
store is set to open in Jamaica's capital city, Kingston, in early
Starbucks Jamaica, recently opened its 3 stores at the
Sangster International Airport
Sangster International Airport in
Montego Bay and one at the Historic
Falmouth Pier, in Falmouth, Jamaica. Its Kingston store is due to open
At the end of December in 2017, the world biggest
opened in Shanghai, China.
In 2003, after struggling with fierce local competition, Starbucks
closed all six of its locations in Israel, citing "on-going
operational challenges" and a "difficult business
Starbucks location in the former imperial palace in Beijing closed
in July 2007. The coffee shop had been a source of ongoing controversy
since its opening in 2000 with protesters objecting that the presence
of the American chain in this location "was trampling on Chinese
In July 2008, the company announced it was closing 600 underperforming
company-owned stores and cutting U.S. expansion plans amid growing
economic uncertainty. On July 29, 2008,
Starbucks also cut
almost 1,000 non-retail jobs as part of its bid to re-energize the
brand and boost its profit. Of the new cuts, 550 of the positions were
layoffs and the rest were unfilled jobs. These closings and
layoffs effectively ended the company's period of growth and expansion
that began in the mid-1990s.
Starbucks also announced in July 2008 that it would close 61 of its 84
Australia in the following month. Nick Wailes, an
expert in strategic management of the University of Sydney, commented
Starbucks failed to truly understand Australia's cafe
culture." In May 2014,
Starbucks announced ongoing losses in the
Australian market, which resulted in the remaining stores being sold
to the Withers Group.
In January 2009,
Starbucks announced the closure of an additional 300
underperforming stores and the elimination of 7,000 positions. CEO
Howard Schultz also announced that he had received board approval to
reduce his salary. Altogether, from February 2008 to January
Starbucks terminated an estimated 18,400 U.S. jobs and began
closing 977 stores worldwide.
In August 2009,
Ahold announced closures and rebranding for 43 of
their licensed store
Starbucks kiosks for their US based Stop &
Shop and Giant supermarkets.
In July 2012, the company announced that they may begin closing
unprofitable European stores immediately.
Main article: Stealth Starbucks
In 2009, at least three stores in
Seattle were de-branded to remove
the logo and brand name, and remodel the stores as local coffee houses
"inspired by Starbucks."
Howard Schultz says the
unbranded stores are a "laboratory for Starbucks". The first,
Coffee and Tea, opened in July 2009 on Capitol Hill. It
served wine and beer and hosted live music and poetry readings.
It has since been remodeled and reopened as a Starbucks-branded store.
Another is Roy Street
Tea at 700 Broadway E., also on
Capitol Hill. Although the stores have been called "stealth
Starbucks" and criticized as "local-washing", Schultz
says that "It wasn't so much that we were trying to hide the brand,
but trying to do things in those stores that we did not feel were
appropriate for Starbucks."
Licensed and franchise operations
Starbucks locations exist. Stores that
independently operate locations include
Ahold Delhaize, Barnes &
Noble, Target, and Tom Thumb stores. As of 2015, 4,962 licensed
Starbucks holds a franchising program. Different
to the License program in which existing corporations may apply to
Starbucks kiosk within an existing store, Franchises have
the ability to create new freestanding stores.
Starbucks has automated systems in some areas. These machines have 280
possible drink combinations to choose from. They have touchscreens and
customers can play games while they wait for their order.
Starbucks in Dortmund, Germany
Starbucks in İzmir, Turkey
Wi-Fi Internet access varies in different regions. In Germany,
customers get unlimited free
Wi-Fi through BT Openzone, and in
Switzerland and Austria, customers can get 30 minutes with a voucher
card (through T-Mobile).
Starbucks in the UK rolled out a paid
Wi-Fi based on
one-time, hourly or daily payment. Then, in September 2009, it was
changed to a 100% free
Wi-Fi at most of its outlets. Customers with a
Starbucks Card are able to log-on to the
Wi-Fi in-store for free with
their card details, thereby bringing the benefits of the loyalty
program in-line with the United States. Since July 2010,
Starbucks has offered free
Wi-Fi in all of its US stores via AT&T
and information through a partnership with Yahoo!. This is an effort
to be more competitive against local chains, which have long offered
free Wi-Fi, and against McDonald's, which began offering free wireless
internet access in 2010. On June 30, 2010,
Starbucks announced it
would begin to offer unlimited and free Internet access via
customers in all company-owned locations across
Canada starting on
July 1, 2010.
In October 2012,
Starbucks and Duracell
Powermat announced a pilot
program to install
Powermat charging surfaces in the tabletops in
Starbucks stores in the Boston area. Furthermore,
Starbucks announced its support in the
Power Matters Alliance
Power Matters Alliance (PMA)
and its membership in the PMA board, along with Google and AT&T,
in an effort to create "a real-world ecosystem of wireless power"
through a universal wireless charging standard that customers could
use to recharge smartphones.
Starbucks launched a new Mobile Order & Pay app in Portland,
Oregon on December 2015. This includes a bar code in mobile. This
bar code needs to be scanned by a small scanner at the counter.
Customers can pay from their smartphone by just waving their phone off
the scanner. In one-quarter, 16% of transactions were made through
this mobile app.
In 2006, Valerie O'Neil, a
Starbucks spokeswoman, said that the logo
is an image of a "twin-tailed mermaid, or siren as she's known in
Greek mythology". The logo has been significantly streamlined
over the years. In the first version, the
Starbucks siren was
topless and had a fully visible double fish tail. The image also
had a rough visual texture and has been likened to a melusine.
The image is said by
Starbucks to be based on a 16th-century "Norse"
woodcut, although other scholars note that it is apparently based on a
15th-century woodcut in J.E. Cirlot's Dictionary of Symbols.
In the second version, which was used from 1987–92, her breasts were
covered by her flowing hair, but her navel was still visible. The
fish tail was cropped slightly, and the primary color was changed from
brown to green, a nod to the Alma Mater of the three founders, the
University of San Francisco. In the third version, used
between 1992 and 2011, her navel and breasts are not visible at all,
and only vestiges remain of the fish tails. The original "woodcut"
logo has been moved to the Starbucks' Headquarters in Seattle.
At the beginning of September 2006 and then again in early 2008,
Starbucks temporarily reintroduced its original brown logo on paper
Starbucks has stated that this was done to show the
company's heritage from the Pacific Northwest and to celebrate 35
years of business. The vintage logo sparked some controversy due in
part to the siren's bare breasts, but the temporary switch
garnered little attention from the media.
Starbucks had drawn similar
criticism when they reintroduced the vintage logo in 2006. The
logo was altered when
Starbucks entered the Saudi Arabian market in
2000 to remove the siren, leaving only her crown, as reported in
a Pulitzer Prize-winning column by
Colbert I. King in The Washington
Post in 2002. The company announced three months later that it would
be using the international logo in Saudi Arabia.
In January 2011,
Starbucks announced that they would make small
changes to the company's logo, removing the
Starbucks wordmark around
the siren, enlarging the siren image, and making it green.
Starbucks has agreed to a partnership with Apple to collaborate on
selling music as part of the "coffeehouse experience". In October
2006, Apple added a
Starbucks Entertainment area to the iTunes Store,
selling music similar to that played in
Starbucks stores. In September
2007, Apple announced that customers would be able to browse the
iTunes Store at
Wi-Fi in the US—with no requirement to
log into the
Wi-Fi network—targeted at iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and
MacBook users. The iTunes Store will automatically detect recent songs
playing in a
Starbucks and offer users the opportunity to download the
tracks. Some stores feature LCD screens with the artist name, song,
and album information of the current song playing. This feature has
been rolled out in Seattle, New York City, and the San Francisco Bay
Area, and was offered in limited markets during 2007–2008.
During the fall of 2007,
Starbucks also began to sell digital
downloads of certain albums through iTunes.
Starbucks gave away 37
different songs for free download through iTunes as part of the "Song
of the Day" promotion in 2007, and a "Pick of the Week" card is now
Starbucks for a free song download. Since 2011, Starbucks
also gives away a "Pick of the Week" card for app downloads from the
App Store. A
Starbucks app is available in the iPhone App Store.
Starting on June 1, 2009, the
MSNBC morning news program Morning Joe
has been presented as "brewed by Starbucks" and the show's logo
changed to include the company logo. Although the hosts have
Starbucks coffee on air "for free" in the words of
MSNBC president Phil Griffin, it was not paid placement at that
time. The move was met with mixed reactions from rival news
organizations, viewed as both a clever partnership in an economic
downturn and a compromise of journalistic standards.
Kraft Foods entered into a partnership in 1998 to sell
Starbucks products in the Mondelez grocery stores owned by the latter.
Starbucks claimed that Kraft did not sufficiently promote its products
and offered Kraft US$750 million to terminate the agreement; however,
Kraft declined the offer, but
Starbucks proceeded with the termination
Starbucks wanted to terminate the agreement because at the
time, single coffee packs were beginning to become popular. In their
Starbucks was confined to selling packs that only worked in
Kraft's Tassimo machines.
Starbucks didn't want to fall behind in the
market opportunities for k cups. In mid-November 2013, an
Starbucks to pay a fine of US$2.8 billion to Kraft
Mondelez International for its premature unilateral
termination of the agreement.
In June 2014,
Starbucks announced a new partnership with Arizona State
University (ASU) that would allow
Starbucks employees in their Junior
and Senior years of college to complete four years of college at
Arizona State University's online program for only around 23K.
Starbucks employees admitted into the program will receive a
scholarship from the college, College Achievement Plan (CAP), that
will cover 44% of their tuition. The remaining balance and all other
expenses would be paid by the student or through traditional financial
aid. In April 2015,
Starbucks and ASU announced an expansion of the
College Achievement Program. The program would now allow all eligible
part-time and full-time employees working in a U.S.
enroll in the program for full-tuition reimbursement. After the
completion of each semester,
Starbucks reimburses the student their
portion of the tuition. The student can then use the reimbursement to
pay any loans or debt incurred during the semester.
Starbucks signed a deal with
PepsiCo to market and distribute
Starbucks products in several Latin American countries for 2016.
In May 2015,
Starbucks entered a partnership with music streaming
service Spotify. The partnership entailed giving U.S.-based employees
Spotify premium subscription and to help influence the music played
in store via playlists made using Spotify.
Starbucks was also given
its own curated
Spotify playlist to be featured on Spotify's mobile
Parodies and infringements
Starbucks has been a target of parodies and imitations of its logo,
particularly the 1992 version, and has used legal action against those
it perceives to be infringing on its intellectual property. In 2000,
San Francisco cartoonist
Kieron Dwyer was sued by
copyright and trademark infringement after creating a parody of its
siren logo and putting it on the cover of one of his comics; later
placing it on coffee mugs, T-shirts, and stickers that he sold on his
website and at comic book conventions. Dwyer felt that since his work
was a parody it was protected by his right to free speech under U.S.
law. The case was eventually settled out of court, as Dwyer claimed he
did not have the financial ability to endure a trial case with
Starbucks. The judge agreed that Dwyer's work was a parody and thus
enjoyed constitutional protection; however, he was forbidden from
financially "profiting" from using a "confusingly similar" image of
Starbucks siren logo. Dwyer was allowed to display the image as an
expression of free speech, but he can no longer sell it. In a
similar case, a New York store selling stickers and T-shirts using the
Starbucks logo with the phrase "Fuck Off" was sued by the company in
1999. An anti-
Starbucks website, starbuckscoffee.co.uk,
which encouraged people to deface the
Starbucks logo was
Starbucks in 2005, but has since resurfaced
at www.starbuckscoffee.org.uk. Christian bookstores and websites in
the US are selling a T-shirt featuring a logo with the siren replaced
by Jesus and the words "Sacrificed for me" around the edge.
Other successful cases filed by
Starbucks include the case won in 2006
against the chain Xingbake in Shanghai,
China for trademark
infringement, because the chain used a green-and-white circular logo
with a name that sounded phonetically similar to the Chinese for
Starbucks did not open any stores after first
registering its trademark in
Russia in 1997 and in 2002 a Russian
lawyer successfully filed a request to cancel the trademark. He then
registered the name with a Moscow company and asked for $600,000 to
sell the trademark to Starbucks, but was ruled against in November
Starbucks sent a cease-and-desist letter to "HaidaBucks
Coffee House" in Masset, British Columbia, Canada. The store was owned
by a group of young Haida men, who claimed that the name was a
coincidence, due to "buck" being a Haida word for "young man" (a claim
that cannot be substantiated). After facing criticism, Starbucks
dropped its demand after HaidaBucks dropped "coffee house" from its
name. Sam Buck Lundberg, who owns a coffee store in Oregon, was
prohibited from using "Sambuck's Coffee" on the shop front in
Starbucks lost a trademark infringement case against a
smaller coffee vendor in
South Korea that operates coffee stations
under the name Starpreya. The company, Elpreya, says Starpreya is
named after the Norse goddess, Freja, with the letters of that name
changed to ease pronunciation by Koreans. The court rejected
Starbucks' claim that the logo of Starpreya is too similar to their
own logo. A bar owner in Galveston, Texas, USA won the right to
sell "Star Bock Beer" after a lawsuit by
Starbucks in 2003 after he
registered the name, but the 2005 federal court ruling also stated
that the sale of the beer must be restricted to Galveston, a ruling
upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007.
"Rat City Rollergirls" logo
Ongoing cases include a dispute over the copyright application for
Rat City Rollergirls
Rat City Rollergirls logo in 2008. The company claimed
the roller derby league's logo by a Washington artist was too
similar to its own.
Starbucks requested an extension to further
examine the issue and possibly issue a complaint, which was granted by
the Trademark Office. The July 16, 2008, deadline passed without
action by the corporation.
Starbucks launched action against an Indian cosmetics business run by
Shahnaz Husain, after she applied to register the name Starstruck for
coffee and related products. She said she aimed to open a chain of
stores that would sell coffee and chocolate-based cosmetics. A
cafe in Al-Manara Square, Ramallah, Palestinian Territories,
opened in 2009 with the name "Stars and Bucks" and a logo using a
similar green circle and block lettering. Like Starbucks, the
Stars and Bucks serves cappuccinos in ceramic cups, and offers free
Wifi. According to speculation cited in the
Intelligencer, the cafe's name and imitation
Starbucks style may be a
political satire of American consumerism.
Starbucks is not known to
have taken action against this business.
In 2014, Nathan Fielder, a Canadian comedian behind the hit show
Nathan for You, opened a store called "Dumb
Starbucks Coffee" in Los
Feliz, Los Angeles CA. The store resembled a typical
one exception: everything was preceded by the word "dumb." For
example, the drinks he carried included Dumb Skinny Vanilla Lattes and
Dumb Frapuccinos. The store carried music titled "Dumb Jazz
Standards" and "Dumb Norah Jones Duets."  He thought he could
bypass infringement and copyright claims through the "Parody Law",
referring to the parody aspect of
Fair Use laws (that protect
parodists such as
"Weird Al" Yankovic
"Weird Al" Yankovic and SNL). No lawsuits were filed
though because the store was short-lived. The Los Angeles Health
Department shut it down after 4 days because Fielder lacked the proper
Others have used the
Starbucks logo unaltered and without permission,
such as a café in Pakistan that used the logo in 2003 in its
advertisements and a cafe in
Cambodia in 2009, the owner saying
that "whatever we have done we have done within the law".
Environmental and social policies
Grounds for your Garden
Starbucks started "Grounds for your Garden" to make their
business environmentally friendlier. This gives leftover coffee
grounds to anyone requesting it for composting. Although not all
stores and regions participate, customers can request and lobby their
local store to begin the practice.
Starbucks began reducing the size of their paper napkins and
store garbage bags, and lightening their solid waste production by
816.5 t (1,800,000 lb). In 2008,
Starbucks was ranked
No.15 on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of Top 25
Green Power Partners for purchases of renewable energy.
In October 2008, The Sun newspaper reported that
Starbucks was wasting
23.4 million liters (6.2 million US gal) of water a day by leaving a
tap constantly running for rinsing utensils in a 'dipper well' in each
of its stores, but this is often required by governmental public
In June 2009, in response to concerns over its excessive water
Starbucks re-evaluated its use of the dipper well system.
In September 2009, company-operated
Starbucks stores in
Canada and the
United States successfully implemented a new water saving solution
that meets government health standards. Different types of milk are
given a dedicated spoon that remains in the pitcher and the dipper
wells were replaced with push button metered faucets for rinsing. This
will reportedly save up to 150 US gal (570 l) of water
per day in every store.[not in citation given]
A bin overflowing with
Starbucks began using 10% recycled paper in its beverage cups in
2006—the company claimed that the initiative was the first time that
recycled material had been used in a product that came into direct
contact with a food or beverage.
Allen Hershkowitz of the Natural
Resources Defense Council called the 10% content "minuscule", but
Starbucks received the National Recycling Coalition Recycling Works
Award in 2005 for the initiative.
In a 2008 media article, Starbucks' vice president of corporate social
responsibility acknowledged that the company continued to struggle
with environmental responsibility, as none of its cups were recyclable
and stores did not have recycling bins. At the time that the article
Starbucks gave customers who brought in their own
reusable cup a 10-cent discount, in addition to using corrugated cup
sleeves made from 85 percent post-consumer recycled fiber, which is 34
percent less paper than the original. During the same period,
Starbucks entered into a partnership with Conservation
International—pledging US$7.5 million over three years—to help
protect the natural environment of coffee-growing communities in
Mexico and Indonesia.
Farmer equity practices
Starbucks began drafting plans for corporate social responsibility in
Starbucks has partnered with Conservation
International (CI) to draft plans and audit its coffee and farmer
equity (C.A.F.E.) program, Starbucks' C.A.F.E. practices are
based on a rating system of 249 indicators. Farmers who earn high
overall scores receive higher prices than those who achieve lower
scores. Ratings categories include economic accountability, social
responsibility, environmental leadership in coffee growing and
processing. Indicators for social responsibility have evolved and now
include 'zero tolerance' indicators that require workers to be paid in
cash, check, or direct deposit, ensure that all workers are paid the
established minimum wage, that workplaces are free of harassment and
abuse, that workplaces are nondiscriminatory and do not employ persons
under the age of 14, and several more.
Starbucks has moved 90% of
its coffee purchases to preferred C.A.F.E. certified providers, and
the company is approaching its stated goal to purchase 100% of its
coffee through C.A.F.E. or other 'ethically sourced' certification
Washington State University
Washington State University Assistant Professor Daniel
Jaffee argues that Starbucks' C.A.F.E. practices merely 'green wash'
"to burnish their corporate image." Additionally, Professor
Marie-Christine Renard of Rural Sociology of
Chapingo University in
Mexico wrote a case study of Starbucks', Conservation International's,
and Agro-industries United of
Mexico (AMSA) joint conservation effort
Mexico in which she concluded that "[w]hile the
CI-Starbucks-AMSA Alliance paid better prices, it did not allow the
producers to appropriate the knowledge that was necessary for the
organizations to improve the quality of their coffee."
Starbucks coffee beans
In 2000, the company introduced a line of fair trade products. Of
the approximately 136,000 metric tons (300 million pounds) of
Starbucks purchased in 2006, only about 6% was certified as
According to Starbucks, they purchased 2,180 metric tons
(4.8 million pounds) of Certified Fair Trade coffee in fiscal
year 2004 and 5,220 metric tons (11.5 million pounds) in 2005.
They have become the largest buyer of Certified Fair Trade coffee in
North America (10% of the global market). Transfair USA,[full
citation needed] a third-party certifier of Fair Trade Certified
coffee in the United States, has noted the impact
Starbucks has made
in the area of Fair Trade and coffee farmer's lives:
Since launching its FTC coffee line in 2000,
Starbucks has undeniably
made a significant contribution to family farmers through their
rapidly growing FTC coffee volume. By offering FTC coffee in thousands
Starbucks has also given the FTC label greater visibility,
helping to raise consumer awareness in the process.[attribution
All espresso roast sold in the UK and Ireland is Fairtrade.
Questions have been raised regarding the legitimacy of the Fair Trade
Groups such as
Global Exchange are calling for
Starbucks to further
increase its sales of fair trade coffees.
According to Starbucks, in 2004 it paid on average $1.42 per pound
($2.64 kg) for high-quality coffee beans, 74% above the commodity
prices at the time.
After a long-running dispute between
Starbucks and Ethiopia, Starbucks
agreed to support and promote Ethiopian coffees. An article in BBC
NEWS, states that Ethiopian ownership of popular coffee
designations such as Harrar and Sidamo is acknowledged, even if they
are not registered. Ethiopia fought hard for this acknowledgement
mainly to help give its poverty-stricken farmers a chance to make more
money. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. In 2006, Starbucks
says it paid $1.42 per pound for its coffee. The coffee Starbucks
bought for $1.42 per pound, had a selling price—after
transportation, processing, marketing, store rentals, taxes, and staff
salary and benefits—of $10.99 per pound. As of August 2010, the
Starbucks website sells only one Ethiopian coffee, which it says is
Starbucks is an active member of the World Cocoa
Ethos, a brand of bottled water acquired by
Starbucks in 2003, is sold
at locations throughout North America. Ethos bottles feature prominent
labeling stating "helping children get clean water", referring to the
fact that US$0.05 from each US$1.80 bottle sold (US$0.10 per bottle in
Canada) is used to fund clean water projects in under-developed areas.
Although sales of
Ethos water have raised over US$6,200,000 for clean
water efforts, the brand is not incorporated as a charity. Critics
have argued that the claim on the label misleads consumers into
thinking that Ethos is primarily a charitable organization when it is
actually a for-profit brand and the vast majority of the sale price
(97.2%) does not support clean-water projects. The founders
of Ethos have stated that the brand is intended to raise awareness of
third-world clean water issues and provide socially responsible
consumers with an opportunity to support the cause by choosing Ethos
over other brands.
Starbucks has since redesigned the American
version of the
Ethos water bottles, stating the amount of money
donated per bottle in the description.
Food bank donations
Starbucks has been donating leftover pastries in the
United States to local food banks through a food collection service
named Food Donation Connection.
In March 2016,
Starbucks unveiled a five-year plan to donate 100
percent of unsold food from its 7,600 company-operated stores in the
U.S. to local food banks and pantries. Perishable food will be
transported in refrigerated trucks to area food banks through the
company's partnerships with the
Food Donation Connection
Food Donation Connection and Feeding
America. This program, called FoodShare, is expected to provide up to
50 million meals over the next five years.
As of 2017, the program was in 10 different markets, including New
York City. In New York,
Starbucks works with
Feeding America and
City Harvest, both non-profits, to donate food from 45 locations. It
plans to expand the program to all 305 Manhattan stores.
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A local coffee shop in New York's East Village claiming it had to
Starbucks is willing to pay higher rent for the space
Starbucks has been accused of selling unhealthy
Starbucks footprint in the United States, showing saturation of
Some of the methods
Starbucks has used to expand and maintain their
dominant market position, including buying out competitors' leases,
intentionally operating at a loss, and clustering several locations in
a small geographical area (i.e., saturating the market), have been
labeled anti-competitive by critics. For example, Starbucks
fueled its initial expansion into the UK market with a buyout of
Coffee Company but then used its capital and influence to
obtain prime locations, some of which operated at a financial loss.
Critics claimed this was an unfair attempt to drive out small,
independent competitors, who could not afford to pay inflated prices
for premium real estate.
While relations with independent coffeehouse chains have been
strained, some owners have credited
Starbucks with educating customers
Starbucks workers in seven stores have joined the Industrial Workers
of the World (IWW) as the
Starbucks Workers Union since 2004.
According to a
Starbucks Union press release, since then, the union
membership has begun expanding to
Chicago and Maryland in addition to
New York City, where the movement originated. On March 7,
2006, the IWW and
Starbucks agreed to a National Labor Relations Board
settlement in which three
Starbucks workers were granted almost
US$2,000 in back wages and two fired employees were offered
reinstatement. According to the
Starbucks Union, on
November 24, 2006, IWW members picketed
Starbucks locations in more
than 50 cities around the world in countries including Australia,
Canada, Germany, and the UK, as well as U.S. cities including New
York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and San Francisco, to protest the
firing of five
Starbucks Workers Union organizers by
Starbucks and to
demand their reinstatement.
Reverend Billy leading an anti-
Starbucks protest in Austin, Texas
Starbucks baristas in Canada,
Australia and New
Zealand, and the United States belong to a variety of
Starbucks paid out US$165,000 to eight employees at its Kent,
Washington, roasting plant to settle charges that they had been
retaliated against for being pro-union. At the time, the plant workers
were represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers.
Starbucks admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.
Starbucks strike occurred in Auckland, New Zealand, on November 23,
2005. Organized by Unite Union, workers sought secure hours, a
minimum wage of NZ$12 an hour, and the abolition of youth rates. The
company settled with the Union in 2006, resulting in pay increases,
increased security of hours, and an improvement in youth rates.
In March 2008,
Starbucks was ordered to pay baristas over
US$100 million in back tips in a Californian class action lawsuit
launched by baristas alleging that granting shift-supervisors a
portion of tips violates state labor laws. The company plans to
appeal. Similarly, an 18-year-old barista in Chestnut Hill, MA has
filed another suit with regards to the tipping policy. Massachusetts
law also states that managers may not get a cut of tips. A
similar lawsuit was also filed in Minnesota on March 27, 2008.
"War On Christmas"
Main article: Christmas controversy § 2010s
In November 2015,
Starbucks introduced solid red seasonal cups, unlike
previous seasonal iterations that were decorated with winter or
Christmas-oriented imagery (such as reindeer and ornaments), but no
overtly religious symbols. The cup design was discussed extensively on
social media, with some citing it as another example of the "War on
Christmas", calling it "cup-gate", and others expressed puzzlement
over the outrage generated by a simple cup. A man named
Joshua Feuerstien then released a video suggesting that customers tell
the baristas that their name was "Merry Christmas" so that baristas
were forced to write it on the cups and shout "Merry Christmas" when
calling off the drinks. This also started the trend
Opening without planning permission
Starbucks has been accused by local authorities of opening several
stores in the UK in retail premises, without the planning permission
for a change of use to a restaurant.
Starbucks has argued that "Under
current planning law, there is no official classification of coffee
shops. Starbucks, therefore, encounters the difficult scenario whereby
local authorities interpret the guidance in different ways. In some
instances, coffee shops operate under A1 permission, some as mixed use
A1/A3 and some as A3".
In May 2008, a branch of
Starbucks was completed on St. James's Street
in Kemptown, Brighton, England, despite having been refused permission
by the local planning authority,
Brighton and Hove City Council, who
claimed there were too many coffee shops already present on the
Starbucks appealed the decision by claiming it was a
retail store selling bags of coffee, mugs, and sandwiches, gaining a
six-month extension, but the council ordered
Starbucks to remove
all tables and chairs from the premises, to comply with planning
regulations for a retail shop. 2500 residents signed a petition
against the store, but after a public inquiry in June 2009, a
government inspector gave permission for the store to remain.
Hertford won its appeal in April 2009 after being open
for over a year without planning permission. Two stores in
Edinburgh, one in Manchester, one in Cardiff, one in
Pinner and Harrow, were also opened without planning permission.
Pinner cafe, opened in 2007, won an appeal to stay open in
2010. One in Blackheath Village, Lewisham was also under
investigation in 2002 for breach of its licence, operating as a
restaurant when it only had a licence for four seats and was limited
to take away options. There was a considerable backlash from members
of the local community who opposed any large chains opening in what is
a conservation area. To this date, the
Starbucks is still operating as
a takeaway outlet.
A store on
Piccadilly with its windows boarded up after being smashed
A damaged front window of a
Starbucks coffee shop in Toronto
There have been calls for boycott of
Starbucks stores and products
because it has been wrongly claimed that
Starbucks sends part of its
profits to the Israeli military, but such allegations are based
on a hoax letter attributed to the President, Chairman, and
Starbucks Howard Schultz, who is Jewish and supports Israel's
right to exist. He is a recipient of several Israeli awards
Israel 50th Anniversary Tribute Award" for "playing a
key role in promoting a close alliance between the
United States and
The hoax letter claiming that Schultz had donated money to the Israeli
military was actually written by an Australian weblogger, Andrew
Winkler, who has admitted fabricating the document.
Starbucks responded to these claims, widely circulated on the
internet, stating that "Neither
Howard Schultz nor Starbucks
fund support the Israeli Army.
Starbucks is a non-political
organization and does not support individual political causes".
The protests against
Starbucks derived from the Winkler letter were
not the first; earlier protests occurred in June 2002 in Cairo, Dubai
Beirut universities in response to Schultz's criticism of Yasser
Starbucks has been a regular target of activists
protesting against Israel's role in the Gaza War over the claims.
Organizations have urged a boycott of Starbucks, accusing
serving as an ally of Israeli militarists.
forced to close a store in Beirut,
Lebanon due to demonstrators
Israel slogans and causing customers to flee.
Demonstrators hung several banners on the shop's window and used white
tape to paste a
Star of David
Star of David over the green-and-white
They also distributed a letter saying, Schultz "...is one of the
pillars of the American
Jewish lobby and the owner of the Starbucks,"
which they said donates money to the Israeli military.
On January 2009, two
Starbucks stores in
London were the target of
vandalism by pro-Palestinian demonstrators who broke windows and
reportedly ripped out fittings and equipment after clashes with riot
"The Way I See It"
Quotes by artists, writers, scientists, and others have appeared on
Starbucks cups since 2005 in a campaign called "The Way I See
It". Some of the quotes have caused controversy, including one by
Armistead Maupin and another by Jonathan Wells that linked
'Darwinism' to eugenics, abortion and racism. Disclaimers were
added to the cups noting that these views were not necessarily those
US military viral email
US Marines Sergeant emailed ten of his friends in August 2004 having
wrongly been told that
Starbucks had stopped supplying the military
with coffee donations because the company did not support the Iraq
War. The email became viral, being sent to tens of millions of people.
Starbucks and the originator sent out a correction, but
Starbucks' VP of global communications, Valerie O'Neil, said in
September 2009 that the email was still being forwarded to her every
As gun laws in many US states have become more relaxed, and more
states have adopted open carry or concealed carry statutes, some gun
owners have begun carrying guns while performing everyday shopping or
other tasks. Many stores and companies have responded by banning the
carrying of guns on their premises, as allowed by many states' local
Starbucks has not instituted an official policy banning guns in
In 2010, the
Brady Campaign proposed a boycott of
Starbucks due to
their gun policy. At that time,
Starbucks released a statement
saying "We comply with local laws and statutes in all the communities
we serve. That means we abide by the laws that permit open carry in 43
U.S. states. Where these laws don't exist, openly carrying weapons in
our stores is prohibited. The political, policy and legal debates
around these issues belong in the legislatures and courts, not in our
In 2012, the
National Gun Victims Action Council published an open
letter to Starbucks, asking them to revise their policy, and also
proposed a "Brew not Bullets" boycott of the chain until the policy is
Valentine's Day selected as a particular day to boycott
In response, gun rights advocates started a counter "Starbucks
Appreciation Day" buycott to support Starbucks' stance, and suggested
paying for products using two-dollar bills as a sign of Second
On July 29, 2013, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America,
initiated a petition demanding a ban on guns in
On September 17, 2013, founder and
Howard Schultz asked customers
to no longer bring guns into its stores. He made the comments in an
open letter on the company's website. Schultz said he was not banning
guns, but making a request.
In January 2012, a
Starbucks executive stated that the company
supports the legalization of same-sex marriage. This resulted in a
boycott by the National Organization for Marriage, a political
organization that opposes same-sex marriage, who received 22,000
signatures in favor of their boycott. When another shareholder
(who had been quoted by NOM before) mentioned during a meeting that
recent earnings had been "disappointing" since the boycott began, CEO
Howard Schultz responded: "If you feel, respectfully, that you can get
a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it's a free
country. You can sell your shares of
Starbucks and buy shares in
another company. Thank you very much." In addition, 640,000
people also signed a petition thanking
Starbucks for its support.
(As of June 26, 2015, same-sex marriage in the
United States is legal
in all states following the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v.
European tax avoidance
In October 2012,
Starbucks faced criticism after a Reuters
investigation found that the company reportedly paid only £8.6
million in corporation tax in the UK over 14 years, despite generating
over £3 billion in sales—this included no tax payments on £1.3
billion of sales in the three years prior to 2012. It is
Starbucks was able to do this by charging high licensing
fees to the UK branch of the business, allowing them to declare a £33
million loss in 2011. The UK subsidiary pays patent fees to the
US subsidiary, purchases coffee beans from the
(where corporation tax is lower than in the UK), and uses the Swiss
subsidiary for other "miscellaneous services". A
suggested that Starbucks' brand image was substantially weakened by
the controversy surrounding how much tax it pays in the UK several
weeks after the allegations surfaced.
Starbucks' chief financial officer (CFO) appeared before the Public
Accounts Committee in November 2012 and admitted that the Dutch
government granted a special tax rate to their European headquarters,
which the UK business pays royalties to. Dutch law permits
companies to transfer royalties collected from other countries to tax
havens without incurring taxes, unlike in the rest of the EU. The
CFO denied that they chose the
Netherlands as their European
headquarters to avoid tax, explaining that the company's Dutch coffee
roasting plant was the reason for the decision. Until 2009, the
royalty rate was 6% of UK sales, but after being challenged by UK tax
authorities it was reduced to 4.7%. The CFO told the committee
this reflected costs such as designing new stores and products, but
admitted that there was no detailed analysis by which the rate is
decided. The coffee they serve in the UK is purchased from the Swiss
subsidiary, which charges a 20% markup on the wholesale price and pays
12% corporation tax on profits.
Coffee is not transported to
Switzerland but the 30 people who work in the subsidiary assess coffee
quality. Regarding Starbucks' frequent reports of loss in the UK, the
CFO told the committee that
Starbucks are "not at all pleased" about
their financial performance in the UK. MPs replied that it "just
doesn't ring true" that the business made a loss, pointing out that
the head of the business had been promoted to a new post in the US and
they consistently told shareholders that the business was
In Ireland, Starbucks' subsidiary Ritea only paid €35,000 in tax
between 2005 and 2011 and the subsidiary recorded losses in every year
other than 2011. Ritea is owned by Netherlands-based
Emea. Their French and German subsidiaries make large losses
because they are heavily in debt to the Dutch subsidiary, which
charges them higher interest rates than the group pays to borrow.
Reuters calculated that without paying interest on the loans and
royalty fees, the French and German subsidiaries would have paid
€3.4 million in tax. The Dutch subsidiary that royalties are paid to
made a €507,000 profit in 2011 from revenues of €73 million, while
the company that roasts coffee made a profit of €2 million in 2011
and paid tax of €870,000.
Protesters, who were unimpressed by the company's offer to pay £20
million in tax over the next two years, staged demonstrations in
December 2012 in affiliation with UK Uncut.
In June 2014, the
European Commission anti-trust regulator launched an
investigation of the company's tax practices in the Netherlands, as
part of a wider probe of multi-national companies' tax arrangements in
various European countries. The investigation ended in October
2015, with the EC ordering
Starbucks to pay up to €30 million in
overdue taxes, which the EC regards as illegal state support for
corporations. A pair of economists from the KU Leuven noted that the
Commission did not forbid Starbucks' tax construction as such,
Starbucks is a Dutch company and effectively rewarding
the Dutch state for its lenient tax policy.
In October 2013,
China Central Television accused Chinese
over-pricing. The report compared the price of a tall (12 fl. oz., 354
mL) latte in Beijing, Chicago, London, and Mumbai. It was found that
Beijing stores charged the most while
Mumbai stores charged the least.
It was also found that a tall latte cost 4 Chinese yuan (approx. USD
$0.67) to make, but it sold at 27 yuan (approx. USD $4.50).
#Racetogether marketing campaign
On Monday, March 16, 2015,
Starbucks launched a marketing
campaign to promote conversations about race between customers and
employees. This marketing campaign also called for baristas to
write the hashtag #RaceTogether on customers' cups – similar to how
Starbucks is already known for writing customers' names on each cup.
It was characterised as a "fiasco" by some media
outlets, to the extent that Starbucks' vice
president of public relations deleted his
On March 22,
CEO advised his employees there is no longer a
need to write #racetogether on cups.
Reuters reported that "Starbucks
said the phase of the campaign that involved messages on drink cups
was always scheduled to end Sunday."
On January 27, 2017, President
Donald Trump signed an executive
order to indefinitely suspend the entry of Syrian refugees into the
United States and suspended entry into the
United States of nearly all
citizens of seven countries until proper vetting measures could be
implemented. The same day, Starbucks'
Schultz wrote a letter to Starbucks' employees, stating in part,
"There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as
refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire
10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world
Starbucks does business. And we will start this effort here in
the U.S. by making the initial focus of our hiring efforts on those
individuals who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and
support personnel in the various countries where our military has
asked for such support."
As a result of Schultz's letter, supporters of President Trump's
executive order supported a boycott of Starbucks, with some saying
Starbucks should give more help to American veterans.
Starbucks established a program to support veterans and their
Starbucks hired 8,000 veterans and military spouses
Starbucks operates 30 stores located near military
bases that help provide assistance to military families.
Organizations that offer free legal help and other services to
military families hold meetings at
Starbucks stores on Military
Muslim boycott of Starbucks
Muhammadiyah, the second largest Muslim group in
Indonesia with 29
million members, and Perkasa, a group with 700,000 members, have
called for a boycott of
Starbucks over its support of gay
From the research in Korea, the brand that many part time workers want
to work is Starbucks.
California cancer warning rule
In March 2018, a California judge ruled that
Starbucks and other
companies must provide warning labels on all coffee products, warning
consumers of chemicals that may cause cancer, a requirement by
California law which
Starbucks was found in violation of.
The chemical in question is acrylamide, a carcinogen byproduct of
roasted coffee beans found in high levels throughout brewed coffee.
Declining to comment,
Starbucks instead referred to a statement by the
Coffee Association claiming that cancer warnings on products
would be "misleading".
After the first phase of the trial,
Starbucks may be subject to civil
proceeding penalties of fines up to $2,500 per consumer exposed over
the last eight years.
Music, film, and television
Main article: Hear Music
Coffeehouse at the South Bank development
adjacent to the River Walk in downtown San Antonio, Texas.
Hear Music is the brand name of Starbucks' retail music concept. Hear
Music began as a catalog company in 1990, adding a few retail
locations in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Hear Music was purchased by
Starbucks in 1999. Nearly three years later, in 2002, they produced a
Starbucks opera album, featuring artists such as Luciano Pavarotti,
followed in March 2007 by the hit CD "Memory Almost Full" by Paul
McCartney, making McCartney the first artist signed to New Hear Music
Label sold in
Starbucks outlets. Its inaugural release was a big
non-coffee event for
Starbucks the first quarter of 2007.
In 2006, the company created
Starbucks Entertainment, one of the
producers of the 2006 film Akeelah and the Bee. Retail stores
advertised the film before its release and sold the DVD.
Starbucks has become the subject of a protest song, "A Rock Star Bucks
Coffee Shop" by
Neil Young and his band, Promise of the Real. The
single from Young's album,
The Monsanto Years
The Monsanto Years aims at Starbucks'
alleged use of genetically modified food, but also at the GMO company
Monsanto. By May 31, 2015, the song was Video of the week on
the Food Consumer website.
List of coffee companies
List of coffeehouse chains
List of companies based in Seattle
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Business data for Starbucks: Google Finance
Media related to
Starbucks at Wikimedia Commons
Assets and products
Seattle's Best Coffee
Verismo by Starbucks
Links to related articles
List of countries by coffee production
Species and varieties
Coffee Pot Control Protocol
List of coffee dishes
Cà phê sữa đá
Café au lait
Café de olla
Café con leche
Café com Cheirinho
Greek frappé coffee
Indian filter coffee
Ipoh white coffee
Viennese coffee house
Roasted grain drink
Coffee and doughnuts
Coffee cup sleeve
Tasse à café
Coffee leaf rust
King Gustav's twin experiment
Coffee vending machine
Single-serve coffee container
Third wave of coffee
Coffee in Seattle
Seattle's Best Coffee
bauhaus books + coffee
Last Exit on Brooklyn
Top Pot Doughnuts
Coffee Equipment Company
Seattle-based Corporations (within the
Seattle metropolitan area)
Seattle and SeaTac-based
Fortune 1000 corporations
Alaska Airlines (#482)
Expeditors International (#428)
Fortune 1000 corporations
Companies listed above, plus:
Costco Wholesale (#22)
Expedia Group (#515)
Puget Sound Energy
Puget Sound Energy (#703)
Major Seattle- and Puget Sound-based non-public
or externally owned corporations
Big Fish Games
Nintendo of America
Fast food and fast casual restaurant chains in the United States
Jack in the Box
Steak 'n Shake
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue
Pei Wei Asian Diner
P. F. Chang's
Pick Up Stix
Au Bon Pain
Great American Cookies
Honey Dew Donuts
Nestlé Toll House
Coffee Bean &
Juice It Up!
Seattle's Best Coffee
Tropical Smoothie Cafe
Ben & Jerry's
Hot Dog on a Stick
El Pollo Loco
Taco del Mar
Wahoo's Fish Taco
Noodles & Company
Erbert & Gerbert's
Port of Subs
Tudor's Biscuit World
H. Salt Esquire
Long John Silver's
Seafood & Chowder House
Hot 'n Now
Hot Sam Pretzels
Food chains in Australia
Hog's Breath Café
Chooks Fresh & Tasty
Guzman y Gomez
Hungry Jack's (Burger King)
Mad Mex Fresh Mexican Grill
Salsa's Fresh Mex Grill
Uncle Tony's Kebabs
Coffeehouses and tea rooms
Gloria Jean's Coffees
Ben & Jerry's
Cold Rock Ice Creamery
Wendy's Supa Sundaes
List of restaurant chains in Australia
Restaurant chains in Ireland
Butlers Chocolate Café
Fast food restaurants
Four Star Pizza
Gourmet Burger Kitchen
Hard Rock Café
Restaurant chains in Poland
Coffee shops and tea rooms
Fast food restaurants
Food chains in Taiwan
Cold Stone Creamery
Ten Ren Tea
Chun Shui Tang
Fast food restaurants
TKK Fried Chicken
Romano's Macaroni Grill
Ruth's Chris Steak House
Steak my home
California Pizza Kitchen
Hard Rock Cafe
Food chains in the United Kingdom
Ed's Easy Diner
Frankie & Benny's
Gourmet Burger Kitchen
Loch Fyne Restaurants
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Papa John's Pizza
Southern Fried Chicken
Pret a Manger
The West Cornwall Pasty Company
Coffee shops and tea rooms
Harris + Hoole
Ben & Jerry's
All Bar One
Chef & Brewer
Slug and Lettuce
Companies of the
21st Century Fox
American Airlines Group
Automatic Data Processing
Cadence Design Systems
J. B. Hunt
J. B. Hunt Transport Services
Maxim Integrated Products
O'Reilly Auto Parts
Sirius XM Holdings
Walgreens Boots Alliance
Indra Nooyi (
Chairman & CEO)
Robert Eugene Allen
Pepsi Max (North America and International versions)
Pepsi-Cola Made with Real Sugar
Mug Root Beer
7 Up (outside United States)
Ethos Water (under license)
Iced Tea) (under license)
No Fear (under license)
Ocean Spray (under license)
Frappuccino (under license)
Starbucks (under license)
Dole (under license)
Quaker Oats Company
Quaker Instant Oatmeal
Chewy Granola Bars
Scott's Porage Oats
Propel Fitness Water
Duke and Sons
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