Sunday, January 13, 2008


An interesting review of a new book about Starbucks (admirably written by someone who doesn't drink coffee).

Starbucks is well known for its utilization of the "third place" concept, but we get to read about the focus groups where Americans first revealed that they were willing to pay more for their coffee—even if they were just getting it to go—if they were in what felt like a "public living room." We also get clued in to the thinking behind Starbucks's unique vernacular (names like "grande Valencia latte" not only lend a patina of sophistication to a product, but also build brand loyalty); we learn that Starbucks deliberately locates stores on the driver's righthand side as she heads downtown so she won't have to make a left turn across traffic; we shake our heads at the revelation that, in 2002, Starbucks introduced the vanilla and coconut Creme Frappucino in order "to capitalize on the expected popularity of the color white."

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