MSD P45 – So much for a Coffee?

I was least interested in it, but my friend told that I had to experience the “Starbucks Experience” at least once. I heeded.

At the entrance, we were greeted by two ladies –  “Welcome to Starbucks, Sir”.

Thoroughly artificial. 

The ambiance inside was made to look rustic – dilapidated walls and tables looking like tree trunks.


The man in the counter was speaking English with such fluency that Wren & Martin would have been proud of. Each customer was greeted with a “Hello Sir! How are you?”, though I really don’t understand why.

Since it was my first time, I had no idea what to order. After browsing through the menu, I ordered “Caffe Americano” since it was the cheapest (Indian mentality, you see).

At the delivery counter, the delivery man wore a puzzled look on his face, after looking at my bill.

“Oh you are a fan of Caffe Americano?”

“No. It’s my first time”

“Sir, it’s plain black coffee, without sugar. Have a nice time, Sir”

Even Kashaayam would have tasted better. 

So much for a coffee? Seriously?

Artificial gestures.

Skyhigh prices.

Tasteless Coffee (personal opinion, of course)

Had the worst “Starbucks Experience”.


But looking at Starbucks from a Business point of view, I feel they are doing a brilliant job. For instance, their feedback mechanism is open and awesome! Starbucks maintains a Social CRM tool called “My Starbucks Idea”.

The idea is simple: put the suggestion box online.

On the front end, an online community of lakhs of customers (growing by the day) share their product ideas with the company and with each other. On the back end, a dedicated team of 40 Starbucks employees work on integrating these ideas with the product development process. 

The visitors to the site also have the provision to up vote/down vote and comment on suggestions given by other visitors. A combination of the most popular and most innovative ideas are picked by the dedicated team and presented to the key decision makers within the company.

Visit the site, here.

On a completely different note, many global food chains like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, Domino’s (and other Pizza chains), McD, KFC are imposing the American food culture here, in India. Agreed, certain chains like McD are following a Glo-cal strategy (take the case of McAloo Tikki), but majority are not. Also, the food served though tasty, is not healthy.

Why then, are we allowing such global chains to penetrate our market?

Like Anchor Gopinath had said, why not take a healthy South Indian dish and make it global?

Aren’t there enough varieties of food within our country?

Questions to ponder.



4 responses to “MSD P45 – So much for a Coffee?

  1. 3 things:

    1) You’re from Chennai. Why in hell did you go to Starbucks over home made filter coffee? There’s just no comparison.

    2) You’re taking away the wrong things from these international food chains. Look not at the fact that they’ve penetrated global markets. They did so only because the opportunity existed. If any of our food chains were innovative enough, they wouldn’t be able to (ref: McD failing to Jollibee in Philippines). Instead, look at their business process – how they’ve optimised every single step in making a pizza or a donut. You would’ve read the case studies, I’m sure. We should be able to adapt that to the Indian food chains.

    3) Subway is as healthy as you make it. Cut out the mayo and potatoes and it’s awesome. Costly. But awesome.

    That said, I’d take seeramolagu saathumadhu, paruppu usli and thayir saadam with maavadu over a pizza any day.

    • Agree with most of what you said, Satti.

      1) Just wanted to get a feel of the “Starbucks experience”. Nothing beats home made filter coffee. Amrita mess coffee comes a close second. 😛

      2) My point here is that, most of us (not referring to you or me) are just proud to eat out at a McD or a KFC than say a Murugan Idly Shop. Thanks to the efficient supply chain, these global chains are also able to expand in no time! As a result, we are not eating Indian food even inside our country, let alone abroad! Of course, there’s no doubting their business processes. That’s the reason why people go there. (Eg. Domino’s 30-minute challenge)

      3) There are exceptions.

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