7 Cool Facts You Didn’t Know About Starbucks

Starbucks Corporation which is based in Seattle, Washington is the largest coffee house in world. It has presence in all continents except Antarctica. Starbucks coffee house is ahead of its bitter UK based rival Costa Coffee with over 20,000 stores spread across the globe. More than one-third of the stores are outside United States and Canada. In addition to serving cold and hot beverages, one can also buy tumblers, mugs, both hot and cold sandwiches and a wide range of other pre-packaged food items.

Beers and wines are also offered at Starbucks Evening stores. Ice creams and coffee under the Starbucks brand can also be found at grocery stores. Hear Music brand under Starbucks entertainment markets films, books and music. In 2006 a partnership with Apple had Starbucks Entertainment added to iTunes Store. Customers with Apple products—MacBook, iPad, iPhone and iPod— are able to auto-detect recently played music in selected Starbucks stores across U.S and download the tracks if they so wish. The following year Starbucks began selling digital album records downloads via iTunes. The following are 7 mind boggling facts about Starbucks.

#1 Starbucks Opens An Average Of Two Stores A Day

The idea of starting Starbucks was conceived by three partners (Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl and Gordon Bowker) drawn from different careers who met while studying at the University of San Francisco. A coffee roasting entrepreneur Alfred Peet shared with them his secret style of roasting coffee beans. This inspired the 3 partners to start their first Starbucks on March 30th 1971 in Seattle, Washington. In 1987, Starbucks began expanding rapidly opening an average of two stores a day. This transformed the coffee house giant from being a just Seattle roaster and retailer to having a global presence despite undergoing tough economic times during the same period.

In 1996, the first overseas store was opened in Tokyo, Japan which now boasts of having more than a thousand Starbucks stores. Two years later Starbucks penetrated the UK market by acquiring the 56 outlets of Seattle Coffee Company at the tune of $ 83 million and rebranding them as Starbucks Stores. Starbucks also has interests in tea business having acquired Tazo brand in 1999 at the tune of $8.1 million and later bought Teavana for $620 million. However there currently are no plans to market Starbuck products in any of the Teavana stores.

Starbucks Corporation also owns a chain of juice bars this is after they bought Evolution Fresh juice company for $30 million in cash. The other subsidiaries under Starbucks Coffee Company include Ethos water, La Boulange Bakery and Torrefazione Italia.

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#2 First Starbucks Logo Siren Was Topless

The Starbucks logo has undergone a number of changes in the past few decades. The first generation logo was based on the 16th century wood cut in which the siren was totally topless and her double fish tail was clearly visible. In the second generation logo, her navel was still visible however flowing hair covered her breasts. The color was also changed to green perhaps to give some credit to the University of Francisco where the founders met. In the third version of the logo, both the siren’s breasts and navel were covered. The siren image was later enlarged after removing the word-mark around her.

Attempts to reintroduce the original brown logo on hot drinks cups to celebrate 35 years of business were met with harsh criticism for the sirens bare breasts. Due to the strict religious value upheld by Saudi citizens, Starbucks was forced to remove the siren leaving only the crown in order to penetrate the Saudi Arabia market. They later introduced the universal logo after operating for three months.

 There have been a number of high profile cases involving copyright and infringement of the logo. In 2000, a cartoonist in San Francisco was sued by Starbucks after he created a parody of the siren logo. He printed it on his comic book, stickers, t-shirts and coffee mugs which he sold on his website.  The judge ruled that since the cartoonist work was a parody it was protected by his right to free speech, however he was only allowed to display but not sell products bearing the logo. There have also been cases of Christian bookstores selling t-shirts with a similar logo with the only difference being that the siren was replaced with Jesus.

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#3 CEO Howard Schultz Was Once A Worker At Starbucks

For the first five years of operation Starbucks only sold roasted whole coffee beans. The only brewed coffee served to customers at the store was free samples. Howard joined Starbucks in 1982 after having his first cup of Sumatra the year before. He later travelled to Italy where he fell in love with Italian coffee house tradition.  This inspired him to quit working for Starbucks on returning to US and starting his own chain of coffee houses, II Giornale Coffee House. With only 6 stores in Seattle the founders sold Starbucks to Howard in 1987. He immediately rebranded all the Giornale outlets to Starbucks before embarking on a large scale expansion of the business.

Howard Schultz was keen on ensuring the rapid Growth did not do away with the company’s culture and tradition hence he preferred operating it like a small firm. Howard resumed his executive duties in early 2008 after taking an 8 years break. It was during this time that sales had dipped prompting him to take over the reins and use his Midas touch to steer Starbucks back to profitability.

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 #4 Starbucks Does Not Discriminate Against Gun Holders or Same-Sex Marriages

In 2012, Starbucks executive threw its weight behind legalization of same sex marriages. This did not go well with some political outfits like the National Organization for Marriage who organized a drive to collect 22,000 signatures in favor of boycotting Starbucks. CEO Howard Schultz was not coward by this move, he kindly asked those who didn’t like his company’s stand on same-sex marriages issue to sell off their shares and invest in another firm if they so wished since America is a free country. In return 640,000 gay rights crusaders signed a petition thanking Starbucks for its unwavering support for their cause.

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As numerous US states relaxed their gun laws a number of gun owners begun carrying their weapons to shopping malls and other social areas. This prompted a number of companies to ban customers carrying weapons from accessing their business premises.  Starbucks did not draft any regulations barring clients carrying weapons from accessing its stores. This lead to a number of anti-guns groups calling for boycotting of Starbucks unless they revised their policy on guns. Finally, in July 2013 Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz published an open letter requesting clients not carry guns to its stores while categorically stating that it was simply a request and not a requirement.

#5 Starbuck Is Keen On Conserving The Environment

Starbucks began making deliberate steps to make their business environmentally friendly toward the end of the 20th century. Coffee ground leftovers are given out to customers on request for composting. The sizes of garbage bags and napkins have also been greatly reduced in size consequently trimming down solid waste generation by Starbucks. In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency named Starbucks as one of the top 25 Green Power Partners. During the same year The Sun newspaper published an article accusing Starbucks of wasting up to 6.2 million gallons of water a day by using the dipper well systems on all its stores. As a result, Starbucks implemented a new system which saves up to 150 gallons of water a day per store.

Still in 2008, Starbucks began giving a 10 % discount to customers who carried their own reusable cups and manufactured cups that had 34% less paper.  The company also committed $7.5 million spread over a span of three years to help protect the environment in Mexico and Indonesia coffee growing regions.

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#6 The Trenta Has A Capacity Larger Than The Average Adult Human Stomach

The Trenta which was introduced by Starbucks in 2011 with a capacity of 31 ounces has a larger capacity than the average adult stomach. This was done after iced tea customers suggested to Starbucks on My Starbucks Idea that they wanted a larger size. Going for only 50cents more than the Venti it offers seven ounce more.

Keen on ensuring this did not negatively impact on the health of its customers Starbucks began offering healthy drinks three years before introducing Trenta. This saw the company offer low-calorie and sugar-free drinks sweetened by a wide-range of natural sweeteners like honey. Starbucks went further and began selling salads and baked goods with low fructose and less artificial ingredients.

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#7 Starbucks College Achievement Plan Is One Of Its Kind

Since most of the employees are students or aspiring to join college, Starbucks management saw the need to support their academic ambitions. Due to the rising cost of college education in US and challenges facing students trying to balance work & studies Starbucks launched Starbuck College Achievement Plan.  In collaboration with Arizona State University, Starbucks is offering its employees an opportunity to enroll for any of the 40 undergraduate degree programs offered in the prestigious university which are delivered online.

Employees working in the parent company and all its subsidiaries without an undergraduate degree are eligible for this initiative. The senior employees will receive full tuition reimbursement for each coursework year they complete.  On the other hand freshmen and sophomores will be liable to receive a partial scholarship. The most amazing thing about the Starbucks College Achievement Plan is that the employees who undertake their studies through it can choose to remain or leave once they graduate.

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