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When Howard Schultz began to notice a decline in the Starbucks brand he built from a single coffee house into a multinational chain of over 15,000 locations employing over 172,000 people, he decided to begin 2008 with new direction. He reassumed the role as CEO and proposed a set of new initiatives to reenergize the company as a whole. These initiatives started at the front lines of Starbucks by changing some of the current machinery used to create espresso and coffee. Next he launched new roasted coffee blends that were set to revolutionize overall taste and perception of coffee. Additionally, due to perceived loss of customers, he introduced a revamped rewards program as well as an online forum to allow anyone from
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This would ultimately lead people to believe that they were being fed run of the mill coffee from a machine and not from someone who took pride in their creation. Thus, opening the door to companies like McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts to be perceived as comparable to Starbucks. Schultz’s first initiative aimed to stop this altogether and differentiate his company from its new found competition by replacing the automated espresso units with smaller Mastrena units. These units will once again allow for more human interaction in the brewing process while leaving room for employees to communicate with customers.
As a whole I thought this plan provided a great balance of what Starbucks was trying to achieve. This allows gains in technology to reinforce the learned art of being a barista. Also, Starbucks is able to save both human and financial capital by employing this strategy. The Mastrena requires less training cost up front because it balances efficient technology with barista know how. The Mastrena “holds more beans than the old machines (more productivity, less sore arms) and actually does give overworked coffee slaves more control over what comes out, like shot length and adjustable steam wands, both of which used to be fixed [and is] shorter than the ones now, so baristas can look you in the eye” (Buchanan, 2008). This accomplishes one of Starbuck’s most basic goals of keeping their shops as welcoming as possible by allowing employees to engage customers while

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