It’s a billion dollar industry, and it’s relatively new on the scene compared to other billion dollar businesses. What are we talking about? – Coffee, in particular the Coffee Shop Culture.
Where it began
In Great Britain in the 70s and 80s there were no real ‘coffee to go’ shops like we know today. It was not a thing to buy a coffee every single time you hit town and the idea of walking round with it in paper cups would have been ridiculous. If you wanted a hot beverage when out you’d have sat down in a cafe, had a china cup and saucer and felt it was a bit of a treat.
In the 1980s in America this was changing.
Howard Schultz was a young salesman, he’d just got a job for a European homewares company selling across America. He was making cold calls and door to door sales, and one of his customers was a small company in Seattle called Starbucks, which sold only whole bean coffee and had no seating.
It was a work trip to Italy that showed him how coffee houses could be. The romance of the cafe culture, the fine fresh coffee and the skilled barista.
Howard Schultz took charge of the regional coffee company – eventually, they didn’t believe in his ideas to start with -and expanded it into one of the worlds top brands .
He took Starbucks from 11 local stores to over 30,000 worldwide and created the idea it was not only okay to carry your coffee with you, but that the place itself was a social hub, a great place to meet up, relax and take your time. He taught us to have an option on Flat Whites, Espressos, Lattes, Filter Coffee, syrups, and foamed milk.
In the year 2000, there were just 350 locations of Starbucks outside the US, by 2007 it was 13,000.
The American business world floundered in 2008 with a market depression and Starbucks suffered too. Having just attempted to step back, Schultz came straight back to work and returned as CEO.
Keen to fix the finical struggles, Schultz closed over 300 stores, retrained his staff on the art of the perfect espresso and stopped further stores opening until he was happy. He introduced an instant coffee Starbucks brand, a bakery chain and bought up the makers of a coffee brewing system. He altered the menus, and by 2012 Starbucks was bouncing back finically.
In 2018 he stepped down as executive chairman of the company he joined in 1982 and became Chairman Emeritus.
Further Schultz facts
The Schulz family Foundation invests in hiring and training both veterans and young people, hiring over a million people by 2021.
He came from a poor childhood, living in a Brooklyn Housing project. He was the first person in his family to graduate from Collage, and tells the story of how his parents couldn’t afford to attend the graduation ceremony.
In 2020 he considered running for President of the United States 2021, but instead backed Joe Biden.
His net worth is $5.2 billion.