Starbucks’ Chairman: We Underestimated Opportunity

Mar 31, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Starbucks is growing at a rate of about 3 and a half new coffee shops a day. That probably isn’t fast enough to meet pent-up demand, says the company’s management.

“We probably underestimated the size of the global opportunity that we have,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, Starbucks.

The company announced at its annual shareholders meeting that it plans to step up expansion here and abroad with the goal of operating 25,000 shops worldwide. That’s more than triple the 8,000 Starbucks currently serving consumers in the U.S. and abroad.

According to an Associated Press report, Starbucks’ growth plan goes well beyond simply opening coffee shops to include selling downloadable music, rolling out bottled coffee drinks and more.

Moderator’s Comment: Does Starbucks put at risk that which makes it Starbucks with its aggressive expansion plans?

This is one company that understands its brand is its business. We doubt growth, however rapid, will change Starbucks basic understanding of itself and
its customers.
Anderson – Moderator

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