Friday, February 13, 2009
Starbucks Via - Shultz' Latest Venture to Expand the Brand
Friends of Howard Shultz may have wondered what he's been brewing in the backroom. Shultz, the CEO of Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) has been slipping Starbucks Via, (instant coffee) to his friends, and Shultz claims they never commented about the taste. Little did they realize that they were virtual guinea pigs for the company's latest product.
To counter the heightened competition from McDonalds and reverse downward trends, Starbucks will roll out instant coffee on store shelves. Demand for instant coffee continues to grow, especially across the globe, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Starbucks executives say the market for instant coffee is so big, particularly overseas, they can no longer ignore it. In the U.K., for instance, 81% of coffee sales are instant. As the company cuts back on store growth, it's trying to find new ways to get more sales out of its existing stores. Starbucks will sell it for $2.95 for a pack of three and $9.95 for a pack of 12.
Via is the latest piece of evidence to support the theory that Starbucks is desperate to convince consumers it's affordable. A company that built its brand and quality and luxury, is now doing a 180. I'm curious to see if consumers are willing to take the bait.
Seinfeld fans remember the famous character Bookman,an instant coffee fanatic.
By Matt O'Hern at 12:23 PM | Comments (1)