In 1982 Howard Schultz, an employee of a small coffee-bean store called "Starbucks" was enlightened while sipping an espresso in a coffee shop in Milan, and the rest is history. He envisioned America's "third place" next to home and work, where coffee-connoisseurs could linger and relax in a classy, pseudo-European atmosphere while enjoying their favorite bean beverage. After buying the company a few years later, he vigorously pursued his vision of selling a wide-selection of hand-crafted brewed espresso of remarkable quality along the extensive line of coffee beans from all around the world. This was provided at a price well above industry standards, with a cup of coffee costing twice as much as that offered at any similar venue. Though initial skeptics where dubious regarding the product's breakthrough success, customers found the price a small drawback next to great service and friendly ambiance and gladly cashed out upwards of a dollar for a single cup of coffee.
The product line was simultaneously evolved, with a new warm beverage hitting stores at least once every holiday season.
Over the years, the Starbucks experience was adopted by a far wider range of customers than the initial upscale 25-44 female white collar coffee lover. This is in part due to Starbucks' universal appeal, since the soothing atmosphere provides a safe haven for anyone wanting to take a break. Also, the vast range of beverages paired with the high-level of customization gives way to a mind-boggling variety, served fresh on location and available to suit almost anyone's taste. As a result, sales of beverages have escalated to 77% of total sales while a decade earlier the distribution was equal to that of coffee beans.
Generally, Starbucks is proud to have a high approval rate among employees and "partners" (with 80-90% claiming to be...