Marketing Currents - Business and Marketing Current Events

What happened to Starbucks? How a progressive company lost its way


In Midtown Manhattan, on the ground floor of an office building, there’s a coffee shop that’s easy to miss. When you walk in, there’s no menu, just a metal riser supporting drinks waiting to be picked up, and in back, some plush banquettes and tables.

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Discussion Questions:

  1. What is positioning?
  2. Based on information from this story, how was Starbucks positioning itself in the 1990s?
  3. Two years ago, to-go orders represented 80% of transactions for the company. How might that be a departure from the company’s original positioning strategy?
  4. Why do you think Starbucks has invested so much in app and to-go orders?
  5. How has that impacted the company’s growth?
  6. How have relations with employees changed in recent years?
  7. How has that impacted the company?
  8. What is leadership?
  9. Why is leadership important to a company like Starbucks?
  10. How do you think leadership has impacted Starbucks? Be prepared to discuss your answers in class.
Chris Lindauer
After working for nearly a decade in professional sports, Chris Lindauer, formed Sports Career Consulting to provide unique sports business education opportunities in and out of the classroom. In the eighteen years (and counting) that followed, Chris has inspired thousands of students to pursue their passions and explore the career of their dreams. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, two teenage daughters and their dog.