McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and 7-Eleven have got Starbucks on the run. The current recession has cash-strapped consumers thinking twice about waiting in line for an $8 dollar cup of coffee. To capture lost market share, Starbucks’ new policy is to grind beans each time a new pot is brewed instead of grinding coffee only in the morning. The change, says The Wall Street Journal, is part of the Seattle-based company’s effort to reinvigorate the so-called “Starbucks experience” in the face of competition from less-expensive rivals — “customers will now be able to hear the whir of grinders and smell the aroma of fresh coffee all day.”
“We achieved fresh-roasted bagged coffee, but at what cost? The loss of aroma — perhaps the most powerful nonverbal signal we had in our stores,” writes http://www.mymccafe.com/ CEO Howard Schultz.
“Now, depending on how busy a store is at a particular time,” writes WSJ, “baristas will use 24-, 12- or eight-minute ‘cadences’ to brew coffee so that no variety runs out. And instead of dedicating one coffee brewer per variety, the new procedures require that containers be rotated as necessary through different varieties so customers don’t have to wait for a certain type to brew.”
McDonald’s has countered with its McCafé specialty coffee drinks, ranging in price from $2.29 for a 12-ounce cup to $3.29 for 22 ounces. In contrast, a caffè mocha at a Starbucks in Chicago runs from $3.10 for a 12-ounce cup to $3.95 for 20 ounces. Starbucks ads warns consumers, “Beware of a cheaper cup of coffee. It comes with a price.” That’s right, a cheaper price.