Today, this statement could not be any more true. Every morning when I am walking to my 8 AM class, I see two types of people. The first type, the majority, of people that I pass are already sipping coffee from the iconic white and green Starbucks cups. The second type of people I see are sluggish zombies making their way over to the nearest Starbucks. Seeing these people so reliant on Starbucks made me wonder, what makes Starbucks so different? And what could be the “something” Howard Schultz was referring to? To gain more insight, I decided to study and observe the people of Starbucks. During my observation, three major themes arose: the overall feel of the environment, the interactions between customers, and the attitudes of the employees.To start off my project, I took a short walk over to the Starbucks located in the Student Union here at the University of Toledo.
Within a few minutes after arriving, I realize that this location is way too busy to observe. Every table was occupied and the line seemed to be endless. There would definitely be a lot of activity to observe here, but I would not get the detail I was looking for. So, I hiked over to the other side of the campus to snoop out the Starbucks location inside the Barnes and Noble bookstore. I went from one extreme to the next. It was completely empty except for one loney starbuck employee standing behind the cash register.
I was losing hope, but I had one more Starbucks in mind. I jumped in my car and headed 45 minutes north to my hometown of Monroe, Michigan. I walked in to the local Starbucks and it was the perfect setting: a few people studying and a few customers in line. The only downfall of this location is that format of the room amplified the voices of the workers, making it difficult to hear any conversations between customers. I quickly took a seat at the table in the back corner of the store to get the best view of the customers and the employees. Then I whipped out my notebook and started taking notes.
I divided my notes into three categories: environment, customers, and employees. Throughout out my observation, I jumped back and forth between these three categories. I also made sure to keep track of the time as I was taking notes by writing the time in the margins every ten minutes.
I continued in this fashion from 1:00pm to 2:45pm.