Man Spends $100,000 Visiting Every Starbucks on Earth, Doesn't Even Like Their Coffee
Winter, who had his name changed from Rafael Lozano, has vowed to visit every one of Starbucks's 17,000-plus store locations around the globe--a mission he's spent over $100,000 attempting to complete ever since he had the idea in 1997.
Is this a good time for a "Winter is coming" joke?
So far he's been to 11,733 of the coffee chain's shops, visiting as many as 29 locations in one day, but get this--he doesn't even like their coffee that much.
"I respect Starbucks for its business sense, customer service and amenities including clean bathrooms and WiFi," Winter, told The Telegraph. "But unless I am checking a new store off my list, I would not go there for the coffee."
At each store, Winter posts a picture to his website, Starbucks Everywhere, and drinks at least a sample-size serving of coffee. He only goes to company-owned stores, excluding licensed or franchised locations.
Back in 1997, there were only around 1,400 Starbucks--truly a different world. Now, with over 17,000 across the globe, Winter's already ambitious plan has inflated into something that could take up his entire life (if he ever finishes at all).
"When I came up with the idea, the barista told me he thought there were about 1,500 stores, and only in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom and Japan. The number seemed manageable. If I had known how big it would become, I might not have decided that the goal was to visit every Starbucks in the world."
Winter, 42, works as a freelance software programmer and drinks an average of ten cups of coffee a day. Even with Starbucks's nonstop expansion (more than 3,000 new stores are planned to open by 2017 in the U.S. alone), he plans to follow through--not surprising for a guy who once dropped $1,400 on a plane ticket solely to visit a British Columbia location before it closed.
"As you can imagine, Starbucks is not going anywhere," he said. "I can see myself visiting new stores as an old man."
Winter's favorite Starbucks is on Duddell Street, in Hong Kong. In his free time, he enjoys visiting independent coffee shops.