Starbucks: Not just coffee anymore

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For the last decade, Starbucks has hung its hat on coffee. While the coffee chain has always offered other drinks like teas and juices, the primary offering has always been the coffee. Now it looks as if the company is changing its strategy to focus more on the other products offered.

A few weeks ago, Starbucks introduced an "everyday" brew on its coffee menu, called Pike Place Roast. The stores are required to brew the coffee in small batches and to let them sit no longer than 30 minutes. This will likely help the nagging problem of the burnt taste Starbucks so often serves up.

But the even better news is the other drinks Starbucks will be rolling out. One will be a smoothie made with fresh fruit and whey powder. The other will be a sweet iced drink. Planned flavors of the new drinks include chocolate banana and orange mango.

This is a smart move. (Too bad the new logo Starbucks rolled out still focuses on coffee. I think it would do well to use a logo that emphasized the other offerings a bit.) Coffee shops have exploded on every corner, so with plenty of viable competitors, Starbucks is wise to look toward gathering new customers who enjoy beverages other than coffee. Starbucks will still have to work hard to differentiate itself from other drink stores and to continue to cultivate loyal customers. There are lots of competitors in the drink arena, and new drinks alone aren't going to singlehandedly resurrect the Starbucks brand.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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