Friday, October 08, 2004

Starbucks Hubris

The first time I saw a free-sanding Starbucks built of bricks I knew that the world was not the same place where I grew up. Pursuading the public to pay folding money for a product that is available free in a lot of offices (well, no, it ain't all that good, but whaddya want for nothing?) is a breathtaking accomplishment. Now they tell the world that the price is going up!

For Starbucks to publicly announce its price increase is either an act of hubris or supreme confidence. Some people come to Starbucks for the bonhomie, others for the soothing music, still others for the wi-fi access. But pretty much all come for the liquid caffeine. And when a retailer loudly raises the price of its main product, it runs the risk of pricing some consumers out. Link

Those of us who have spent our adult life peddling comfort food and hearing people complain about the price have always envied the success of Sarbucks. I feel that if cafeteria food could be marketed as successfully as Starbucks has marketed their image, then scratch biscuits, real gravy, sweet tea and twice-battered fried chicken will not disappear from the landscape. I think it has to do with fashion. The coffee people got it right. We in the cafeteria business are still looking for the answer.

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