Recently we posted a blog to the MSI community called Your Bold Solutions. We invited the MSI community to help us find a solution to please both the customers who want a consistent everyday blend like Pike Place™ Roast and those who want variety and a “bolder” flavor profile.
Here are the ideas you shared:
The brewed coffee team placed these suggestions into four groups. We want to share where we’re at on these bold solutions.
1. Low Tech or High Tech – Faster Single Cup
We have engaged with our equipment research and development team to evaluate both low-tech and high tech solutions for quicker (on demand) brewing. We have and will continue to test both solutions in multiple markets now through March 2009. Our objective is to define a path forward for rollout by the end of September 2009.
2. Smaller Batch Sizes or Hold Times
The launch of Pike Place™ Roast was more than just a new everyday coffee. It also included changing the hold times to no more than 30 minutes as well as optimizing the batch sizes. We did extensive taste testing to land on a 30 minute hold time and optimized our equipment to handle smaller batch sizes for lower volume brewing. That being said, we have no current plans to hold coffee for longer and current equipment capabilities prevent going to smaller batch sizes. Hence, the priority of exploring single cup brewing as noted above.
3. Pike Place™ Roast as Rotational or Mild Offering
This is an interesting idea. When we launched Pike Place™ Roast, we had data suggesting that our customers were looking for a more consistent experience in their brewed coffee at Starbucks. That said, we have heard your comments and are asking some core customers what they think about the program. (NOTE: in retrospect, this last sentence could have been worded better. As you see in the comments below, it gave the impression that there were "MSI customers" who were somehow different than "core customers". That's obviously not the case as MSI customers are core customers! We know that quantitatively from the home page polls we've done as well qualitatively from simply reading your comments. This is sbx_MATT: sorry for the bad choice of words and thank you very much for calling out our mistake. What was meant by that sentence is that given the far reaching implications of this proposal, we need to be thorough in our data gathering. MSI is a great place for direct and primary feedback from core customers, but it makes sense for us to use all mechanisms at our disposal. We're doing that now, and we're on the hook for reporting the findings back to you).
Great idea! We have heard loud and clear that some customers feel they don’t know they have a choice of brewed coffees at Starbucks. Starting in January, we will be launching more customer facing messaging around the choice of Pike Place™ Roast and the bold coffee offering. This includes menu boards and other customer facing marketing that should help both the customer and Starbucks barista to better understand and execute the bold coffee offering.
Thank you for all of your suggestions. We’ll keep you posted on our progress.