Starbucks has nearly 30,000 locations around the globe and they pull in well over $12 billion each year. Those numbers are just insane when you look back to their humble beginnings. They certainly have done a lot of things right over the years, but not everything goes as planned.
Just like with any other company they have plenty of things that they would prefer you not know about. It seems the bigger the companies become, the more secrets they have to keep. Starbucks is no different in those terms as there is plenty that they don’t want you to know.
For instance, what is in that Pumpkin Spice Latte? That question has been asked many times and did you know that in order to conduct testing, a bottle of the ingredients had to be stolen? The company would not offer it up voluntarily. That alone should tell you something.
Or were you aware that it may actually be healthier to eat at McDonald’s than it is to eat at Starbucks? Think about that one for a moment. All the bad talk about McDonald’s and their high calorie counts in their food, and they are a healthier alternative than Starbucks is? Wow.
There are plenty more secrets to uncover so read on and enjoy!
15. You can’t handle a Trenta… literally
Those that are fans of The Big Bang Theory will remember when Sheldon ran into the bathroom claiming an emergency while Leonard was in the shower. When asked what kind of emergency he had, Sheldon said “Mathematical. 32 ounce banana smoothie, 16 ounce bladder.” That’s exactly the type of thing you’ll face if you order something that is the Trenta size.
It holds 30.9 fluid ounces of your favorite Starbucks beverage while your bladder can actually hold only 30.4 fluid ounces. If you do the easy math you’ll see that at least one pit stop will be needed while enjoying this. This cup can hold an entire bottle of wine!
14. Coffee is no longer the main source of revenue
Starbucks would like you to think of them as a coffee company. However they have their hands in a lot of other stuff to generate huge amounts of revenue. Coffee might have been their main thing at one point but that day has long gone.
They generate more than 26% of revenue from items other than coffee, and in the beverage department coffee is just part of the revenue, not the mainstay that it once was. As a matter of fact, the company dropped the word “coffee” out of its logo back in 2011.
13. Plenty of people don’t like Starbucks
Are you one of those people who aren’t a fan of Starbucks? They don’t want you to know it but there are plenty of those people out there. For instance I am one of those people. Personally I don’t want to have to learn a new language to order a coffee, and then pay hugely inflated prices, to get a cup of coffee that tastes like crap, but that’s just me.
That’s the common denominator of the huge numbers of people who don’t like the company. They say the coffee just isn’t that good. Some of the complaints have been “too strong”, “too dark” or “too gross”. In many taste tests done around the country Starbucks lost out big time to Folgers.
12. The founders didn’t know the coffee industry
When the first Starbucks opened up in Seattle there were three founding members on the team. Zev Siegel was a history teacher. He operated and developed the stores. Jerry Baldwin was a history teacher and his job was taking care of the financials and the coffee production. The third member was Gordon Bowker who was an advertising executive. He didn’t really take part in getting the stores operational; his job was more of the idea guy, a thinking man that came up with the plans to be put in place.
11. The original logo was a nude woman
It’s pretty much common knowledge by know that the founders of Starbucks got the name and logo ideas from the Moby Dick story. While looking through history books for a logo design they came upon the twin-tailed mermaid and were sold on her. They put her into play when the company first started up, without making any adjustments to her.
That led to a bare-chested mermaid with a smile to be front and center of the Starbucks stores. Eventually someone noticed it and the logo was redesigned so that her hair was a little longer and a little better placed, to cover up any part that shouldn’t be bared in the name of coffee.
10. The name came from a strange place
While the founding fathers were looking for a name for their new coffee company they were scouring the story of Moby Dick. While talking to a friend that worked in advertising, the thought was mentioned that anything that starts with the letters “ST” sounds very powerful. This helped the guys decide on Starbo, a mining town in the Cascades. This led to Gordon Bowker come up with the word Starbucks.
9. Do you know Starbucks’ biggest flop ever?
It’s not very often that Starbucks has a failure. However, it’s bound to happen when you take a lot of risks, it’s just a no brainer that eventually something isn’t going to work. In the case of Starbucks it was the Chantico.
It was called a “drinkable dessert” that was a hot, 6 ounce drink. It was supposed to be a take on a sweet chocolate drink that is popular over in Europe. The drink couldn’t be customized though and that’s a major part of the Starbucks draw. It was brought to the public in 2005 but in 2006 it quietly went away when people stopped ordering it.
8. Every location has a secret coffee they don’t advertise
Did you know that you can get pour-over coffee at any Starbucks location? You certainly can if you request it, they just don’t want you to know about it. Pour-over coffee is considered to be much better than brewed and it takes longer to prepare it. That’s the main reason they don’t advertise it. They don’t want a bunch of people coming in each day and ordering it, thus slowing down work production, essentially cutting into the main goal of any business – profits.
7. All it touches doesn’t turn to gold
Starbucks has been more than successful since it got started back in the 70s. They have no problem taking risks and more than a few of them have paid off with huge returns. They certainly have had their share of breakthroughs in the business but they have had just as many failures too. They just don’t advertise those as much, for obvious reasons.
Do you remember the Mazagran? It was a bottled coffee-cola that was terrible. We already discussed the failure of the Chantico and who can forget about the Sorbetto? That one was a tangy type of frozen yogurt that just wasn’t very good.
6. If Red Bull makes you fly, what’s the potential here?
When you need that little pick me up you might want to stay away from Starbucks. Now, if you are in need of a major pick me up, Starbucks is exactly what you need. A Grande coffee has 320 milligrams of caffeine in it. To put that into perspective with other items, a regular 8.4 ounce Red Bull has only 77 milligrams. A bottle of 5-Hour Energy has 200 milligrams and the next size up at Starbucks, the Venti… well, it has 415 milligrams.
5. A quarter pounder is better for you than a scone
When’s the last time you heard that something from McDonald’s was better for you than anything else on the food market? Probably never right? Well, side by side with a Starbucks cinnamon chip scone, a quarter pounder is a dieter’s dream. The scone has more calories with 480.
There are plenty of other items on the Starbucks menu that have a ton of calories in them as well. A chicken artichoke on ancient grain flatbread has 510 calories and a turkey pesto panini has 520. A loaf of their chocolate marble cake has 490 and their sausage, cheddar and egg breakfast sandwich has 500 calories.
4. Starbucks proudly owns Teavana despite the hazards
Starbucks paid $620 million in cash to purchase Teavana in 2012. The tea chain is based out of Atlanta and there are plenty of reasons that the previous owners wanted out. They carved out a nice little business of tea shops, pretty similar to what Starbucks had done with coffee, but the Teavana brand had a lot of bad things in it. When it became public knowledge the owners decided to get out and they made a pretty penny for doing so.
Teavana teas have been found to contain multiple chemicals in them. Some of these chemicals cause birth defects and/or infertility. It has been advertised that the Teavana tea brand is organic but the truth is that it’s not even close.
3. Not the best company to work for
Every year Starbucks is featured on the Fortune magazine’s list of best companies to work for. Don’t let that fool you though, as there are plenty of instances that the company has been found mistreating its employees or “partners” as they sometimes call them.
In 2013 they settled a lawsuit that was brought against them by employees who stated they were not allowed to take breaks during work hours. That cost the company $3 million and the latest complaint now is that they don’t give enough time before releasing new work schedules. This makes it nearly impossible for people to plan day care or school into their lives.
The company says that it is making changes in this practice and only time will tell. They offer a great health care plan but individual treatment has been called into question multiple times over the years.
2. What’s in the Pumpkin Spice Latte?
This question has been asked as many times as the question was asked “Who shot J.R.?” Yes it was a very long time ago but it’s still one of the most noteworthy events in television history. Just as many people though want to know what is in the Pumpkin Spice Latte. The company will not comment on it and to find out, a bottle of the main mixture had to actually be stolen so it could be tested.
The test results were stunning. That Pumpkin Spice Latte that you love so much, contains plenty of chemicals in it that are harmful to the human body. Oh, and by the way, there has never been any pumpkin found in any test conducted.
1. They don’t support coffee farmers as they advertise
Starbucks never misses a chance to tell the world how they support coffee farmers. The fact of the matter though is that they don’t, and if given the opportunity to screw them over, they will jump at the chance.
In 2005 the company was having issues with some Ethiopian coffee growers. The farmers decided to protect the value of the product that they sold to Starbucks, which by the way is at a much lower cost than you pay in the store. Anyway, when the farmers applied for trademarks on their business names they were stunned to find out that Starbucks had beat them to it. They were able to stop the company from taking their names but if they had not found out what Starbucks was doing, they could have been ripped off more than $80 million a year. I don’t think stealing their business is considered supporting coffee farmers.
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